Officials: NM hot-air balloon festival sets record

Associated Press
Thousands of spectators mingle among inflating hot air balloons at the 40th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, N.M., on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011. Fiesta organizers said 550 balloons and 600 pilots from around the world are registered for this year's annual event. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)
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Thousands of spectators mingle among inflating hot air balloons at the 40th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, N.M., on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011. Fiesta organizers said 550 balloons and 600 pilots from around the world are registered for this year's annual event. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Organizers of a New Mexico hot-air balloon festival say they've broken their own world record.

Officials with the 40th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta say independent counters reported 345 hot-air balloon took to the air in one hour Saturday.

That's 16 more balloons than ascended into the air in an hour during the 2000 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, when the previous record was set.

The 12th Lorraine World Air Balloon Festival in France launched 343 hot air balloons in one hour earlier this year. But organizers didn't file the record with the Guinness World Records.

More than 550 hot-air balloons and more than 600 pilots from around the world are taking part in this year's Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

The annual event runs through Sunday.

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