A missing Action Man’s downed craft has been recovered from a field in Northamptonshire following a week-long search... but the pilot is still nowhere to be seen.
On Sunday, June 26, extreme photographer Chris Hillcox and toy fanatic Rob Wisdom, attached a vintage Action Man doll to a weather balloon as part of a crowdfunded bid to send him to the edge of space.
They had raised £3,000 for the mission, timed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the launch of the classic toy.
But they only recovered part of his craft from a field in Creaton and it was believed the doll itself - christened Major Tom - had been stolen.
Organisers put up a £200 reward for the return of the craft and the GoPro cameras attached to it.
Though the search was close to be being called off at the end of last week, on Sunday a farmer in Brixworth recovered the cameras and Major Tom’s specially built space capsule.
He had seen the press coverage about the search for the missing Action Man and got in touch with Mr Hillcox.
Sadly, Major Tom himself is still missing.
However, Mr Hiillcox said he was thrilled to have recovered the photos, showing the Hasbro toy drifting in the stratosphere - right before the balloon exploded
“The pictures are really great, it is amazing the camera survived the fall and is still in good working order,” he said.
Mr Hillcox says the footage gleaned from the camera also reveals how Major Tom came hurtling back to earth.
He said high winds had ripped apart the weather balloon and scattered the craft debris across Northamptonshire.
It means Major Tom himself, who was fitted with a specially designed space suit for the mission, could be very hard to locate.
“I think major Tom will turn up at some point,” Mr Hillcox said.” We will send mail out to farms around the Northampton area to ask them to get in touch if they spot anything.”
On Friday, Mr Hillcox announced he and Mr Wisdom were planning a second mission in mid-July featuring their “spare” Action Man, Major Tim.
If you find Major Tom, you can call Mr Hillcox on 07783 903096.