|Photo Credit: Mamet Cave Balloon by Bojan - Haron Markičević|
Mamet Cave in Croatia was the scene of the world's first successful underground hot air balloon flight.
Ivan Trifonov, a seventy-year-old Austrian, made the record-breaking flight in a specially-designed, smaller-than-usual balloon without a basket but two gas cylinders framed by iron pipes as an improvised seating space.
"For once in my life, I have the chance to go down in Tartarus (hell), right?" said Trifonov. "This has been a difficult project. You must have the right balloon, the right weather, and the right support. It was very difficult and I don't believe this is going to be repeated by anyone ever again.”
Mamet Cave, which is about 676 feet deep, is shaped like an inverted funnel with a 196-foot-diameter entrance at the top. The cave is above Obrovac in Velebit Nature Park. The Croatia National Tourist Board has released a video of the highlights of the 25-minute flight:
Trifonov has been honored with four Guinness World Records for hot air ballooning over the South Pole, the North Pole and the Mediterranean Sea. He is also the first man to stand, dive and fly over the North Pole within 12 hours.