It was a new years day challenge that cost them their lives the cause we now know- a combination of inexperience and mishandling. 42 year old Lee Pibworth from Bishopsworth was the pilot, flying alongside his friend 55 year old friend Alan Burnett from Bedminster.

They were attempting to gain a gold medal from the british balloon and air club by reaching 20,000 feet.

Mr Burnett's son was part of the support team and received two calls from his him. In the first his father said they had reached 4,600 metres but were turning back after using 60 litres of gas. *He then called a final time saying they had reached 6,600 metres - higher than required. *

Today an inquest into their deaths at Flax Bourtons coroner's court recorded a narrative verdict. **

The coroner Maria Voison agreed with the findings of air accident investigators who said there were no signs of technical faults

Instead she said it was likely the accident was caused by a lack of experience of operating that particular balloon and its individual features and flying at such a height, as well as a lack of oxygen.

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