Austria hails daredevil Baumgartner after space jump
Austrian leaders were quick to congratulate daredevil Felix Baumgartner after their compatriot jumped from the edge of space Sunday, breaking the sound barrier.
"I warmly congratulate Felix Baumgartner on this great success, which was achieved with courage and perseverance and is finding worldwide attention," President Heinz Fischer reacted on his Facebook page almost immediately after Baumgartner had landed safely in New Mexico.
"Austria is proud of your accomplishment," he added.
Chancellor Werner Faymann also hailed the achievement in a statement.
"His jump from a height of around 39 kilometres was a fascinating event for millions of people worldwide," Faymann said.
"But I'm first and foremost happy everything went well.
"I congratulate Felix Baumgartner and his team for this impressive achievement. Together they went to the boundaries of human possibility and of physics."
Baumgartner, 43, jumped Sunday from an altitude of more than 39 kilometres (24 miles) above Roswell, New Mexico, in an attempt to break the sound barrier with the fastest freefall ever.
In the process, he also broke the record for the highest altitude for a manned balloon flight.
The Red Bull Stratos mission, which followed seven years of preparations, had already been postponed several times.
The daring jump coincided with the 65th anniversary of American pilot Chuck Yeager first breaking the speed of sound.
(c) 2012 AFP