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Balloonist flies from Mandela's old jail

3:59 PM, Apr 6, 2013   |    comments
South African cluster balloonist Matt Silver-Vallance in mid air en route from Robben Island to the mainland near Cape Town, South Africa on Saturday. (Photo: AP)
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JOHANNESBURG  - A man has strapped himself to large balloons filled with helium and floated from the island where Nelson Mandela was kept prisoner to the shores of the South African mainland.

The goal of Saturday's trip from Robben Island was to help raise money for the building of a children's hospital that will carry the name of the 94-year-old former president and anti-apartheid leader. Mandela was discharged Saturday from a hospital after treatment for pneumonia.

Balloonist Matt Silver-Vallance, a South African-born manager at a medical device company, dropped a rope near the coastline and a sea rescue craft pulled him to safety.

He had hoped to raise $1 million for the hospital, but organizers of the charity event have not yet announced the final tally.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Associated Press

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