Croatian National Tourist Board backs an undertaking never performed before - a balloon flight into the Mamet Cave

ZAGREB, 30.9.2014.

With the aim to further improve promotion, and especially the promotion of active tourism, the Croatian National Tourist Board has supported a unique and interesting undertaking on a global scale. Ten years after the video of the parachute jump performed by Felix Baumgartner into the Mamet Cave has been viewed across the globe, this cave of the Velebit Mountain has become the scene of another incredible adventure.

Ivan Trifonov, a seventy-year-old Austrian with Croatian passport, has become the first man alive who tried and managed to accomplish a balloon flight underground. The experienced hot air balloon pilot has been registered in the Guinness book of records four times so far, for hot air ballooning over the South Pole, the North Pole, and the Mediterranean Sea, and he is also the first man who stood, dived and flew over the North Pole all within 12 hours. The descent to the bottom of the Mamet Cave, and the successful exit from it is an unprecedented venture in this sport, and Trifonov’s fifth Guinness record. Trifonov has been inspired by the novelist and visionary Jules Verne and by his book Journey to the Centre of the Earth.

For the flight into the underground, Trifonov had to use a smaller balloon, and instead of the basket, the pilot sat on two gas cylinders framed by iron pipes. "For once in my life, I have the chance to go down in Tartarus (hell), right?" said Trifonov jokingly, and then significantly more seriously added "Absolutely a tough thing”. 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.” The historic balloon flight, from the departure to the landing at the bottom of Mamet, to the successful return to the surface, lasted about 25 minutes.

The realization of this demanding endeavour serves as great promotion to the Croatian tourism. So far never performed and registered jump has been put into a unique video (youtube) that will give an entirely new dimension to the active vacation in Croatia, by combining the amazing beauties of Croatia and the adventurous spirit of the pilot Trifonov.

The Mamet Cave is 206 meters deep, it has the shape of an inverted funnel, with an impressive cave entrance of about 60 meters of diameter. It is located above Obrovac, in the area of the Velebit Nature Park. The first written data about the cave dates back to 1929, and the first descent to its bottom started on 5 July 1968, when topographic mapping and aerial photography were performed, and the map produced on that occasion is still being used today.