Balloon with 7 aboard reported missing off Peru

LIMA (AFP) - A hot air balloon carrying seven people was declared missing on Sunday after disappearing over the Pacific Ocean south of Lima during a tourist excursion, its owner said.

"We are looking at a probable accident, we assume the balloon has fallen," Globos Peru Sac manager Luis Miguel Fernandez told Lima's RPP radio station.

Fernandez said the basket attached to balloon can float.

"We hope that the seven occupants - six tourists and the pilots, all Peruvians are in the basket," he said.

The balloon was lost about 200km south of Lima, and was probably swept by a strong wind into the Pacific ocean, which was covered in dense fog.

He said Peruvian navy units, backed by a helicopter, were searching the area.

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