Sao Paulo, Brazil Searchers scanned the waters off Brazil's southern Atlantic coast for a Roman Catholic priest who disappeared after floating into the sky under hundreds of helium party balloons as they are prone to do.
Rescuers in helicopters and small fishing boats spent a second day seeking signs of the Rev. Adelir Antonio de Carli . He lifted off from the port city of Paranagua, wearing a helmet, thermal suit and a parachute. All that equipment, what ever happened to faith?
After eight hours authorities later saw pieces of balloons floating in the sea off the coast of Santa Catarina state close to where Carli last made contact. It is unclear how this will effect the local wildlife who can be harmed by swallowing deflated balloons.
"We have no reason at this point to believe he is not still alive. He may be floating in the ocean, on some isolated beach or on land somewhere or even beamed aboard a spaceship," said Paulo Eduardo Neves, a commander of one of the fire departments supposed to be searching for Carli.
The priest was trying to break a 19-hour record for the most hours flying with balloons and to force a rapture from God also to fund a spiritual rest stop for truckers in Paranagua, home to Brazil's largest grain port.
Brazilian truckers often spend days waiting to unload in the port, especially during the busy soy export season now under way and a place where they can meet young boys and prostitutes and get all down and spiritual which might be nice for them and lucrative for the church.
Parishioners were maintaining a vigil for Carli, confident that he would be found.
A video of Carli posted on Globo TV's G1 Web site showed the smiling 41-year-old priest slipping into a flight suit and being strapped to a seat attached to a huge cluster of green, red, white and yellow balloons. He then soared into the air to cheers from a crowd.
The priest at one point soared to an altitude of 20,000 feet (6,000 meters). He planned to fly to the city of Dourados, 465 miles (750 kilometers) northwest of his parish, but was blown in another direction. He was located about 30 miles (50 kilometers) off the coast when he last contacted Paranagua's port authority. God it seems had other plans.
Carli reportedly had a GPS device, a satellite phone, a buoyant chair and is an experienced skydiver as most priests are .
Seas were calm in the area where Carli disappeared, and the ocean's temperature was a mild 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit), rescue leader Neves said.
"Depending on his physical fitness and how badly, if at all, he was injured, he could probably survive in the water for at least five days, maybe a bit more," Neves said unrealistically and optimistically.