Austrians proud of skydiver 'Fearless Felix'

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Monday, Oct. 15, 2012

UNDATED (AP) -- Austria has a new national hero.

Daredevil skydiver Felix Baumgartner yesterday became the first man to shatter the sound barrier without traveling in a jet or a spacecraft, when he jumped from a balloon floating in the stratosphere above the New Mexico desert.

The country is already known as the birthplace of Mozart, Schubert and Freud. But it is also frequently invoked as the birthplace of Hitler. And many Austrians are happy to have a new local hero swelling the ranks of the nation's good guys.

Some say they're just hoping their country won't keep getting confused with Australia.

Almost 3 million Austrians -- more than a third of the country's population -- watched the jump live on TV.

Austria's president and chancellor sent their congratulations, as did another famous Austrian -- Arnold Schwarzenegger.

(Copyright 2012, The Associated Press)

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