Sheriff: Missing balloon pilot’s body found
ATLANTA | Searchers found the body Monday of a hot-air balloon pilot who went missing after he was hit by a thunderstorm in Georgia, a sheriff said.
A helicopter spotted the balloon, and searchers on the ground then found the body of 63-year-old Edward Ristaino, Ben Hill County Sheriff Bobby Mclemore said.
The balloon was found about seven to eight miles east of Fitzgerald, the sheriff said. It was draped over the basket containing the body in a heavily wooded area.
A fast-developing thunderstorm sucked in Mr. Ristaino’s balloon while he was ferrying skydivers Friday, then sent the craft plummeting toward the ground. The skydivers parachuted to safety.
Authorities had used helicopters, airplanes, horses and all-terrain vehicles to search the woods in south Georgia for Mr. Ristaino.
Two of the skydivers say Mr. Ristaino kept them safe by spotting a field where they could safely parachute and telling them to jump as the storm approached.
“If we would have left a minute later, we would have been sucked into the storm,” said skydiver Dan Eaton of Augusta, Ga.
He said he didn’t think Mr. Ristaino’s choice to embark on the trip was reckless. They took off into a blue sky from a festival in Fitzgerald, Ga. From the air, they could see only a foglike haze that later turned into a fierce thunderstorm.
The storm “came out of nowhere,” said skydiver Jessica Wesnofske of Cornelia, Ga. schoolgirl dead.
NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said though there were no specific threats against New York, which has the largest Jewish population outside Israel, the police department decided to take the measures as a precaution.
“We have to be concerned about what happens overseas,” he said. “We have a significant Jewish population in this city, and we have to take that into account.
“We know that we’re the top of the terrorist target list, so we’re concerned about the so-called ‘copycat syndrome,’ where someone might see the events unfolding in Toulouse and take it upon themselves to act out.”
The locations getting additional security included the Museum of Jewish Heritage in lower Manhattan, the Israeli Mission to the United Nations in midtown and the 92nd Street Y on the Upper East Side. trying to freeze the assets of mobster James “Whitey” Bulger’s girlfriend to cover any fine she may be ordered to pay when she is sentenced for helping Bulger evade authorities for 16 years.
They have asked a judge to order a garnishment of any assets belonging to Catherine Greig held by Eastern Bank, according to court documents.
In the filing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Donato says prosecutors believe Greig “holds significant assets and/or funds.”
Greig pleaded guilty last week to helping Bulger avoid capture since 1995. Bulger has pleaded not guilty to participating in 19 murders. The couple was captured last summer in Santa Monica, Calif.
Mr. Donato said he believes there’s a strong likelihood Greig will be ordered to pay a fine when she’s sentenced in June.
He has asked a judge to order any Greig asset held by Eastern Bank to be paid to the government if a fine is ordered.
During a hearing in U.S. District Court on Monday, Greig’s attorney, Kevin Reddington, said Greig does not plan to transfer any property or