On 18th February 2020, a team of scientists contacted Fred Moinet and Sylvain Caburet from the E.R.T. (Emergency Response Team) seeking help with the recovery of a high altitude communication balloon, flying up in the Stratosphere, which was expected to land in the sea near Mahe.
Given the need for a high speed search at night with a very short notice, the help of the Seychelles Coast Guard was requested. The recovery operation was quite delicate as once the Stratospheric balloon, loaded with electronics hit the water, it would sink in just a few minutes. Furthermore, the landing site would be constantly moving due to the wind direction and speed.
The joint effort between the scientific team, remotely controlling the balloon from Madagascar and the USA, E.R.T. and the Seychelles Coast Guard allowed for a swift recovery of the equipment on-board the Patrol boat around 0130hrs, at around 3 nautical miles from Mahé. The successful recovery meant that loss of scientific equipment as well as a potential environmental pollution threat were avoided.