Man fails trying to cross Atlantic via balloon cluster

2:09 PM, Sep 13, 2013   |    comments
A balloon cluster carrying Jonathan Trappe lifts off from Caribou, Maine, Sept. 12, 2013. (Photo: Mark McBreairty, AP)
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CARIBOU, Maine (AP) - A U.S. balloonist who was trying to cross the Atlantic Ocean using hundreds of helium-filled balloons has landed short of his goal in Newfoundland. "This doesn't look like France," he posted on Facebook.

Jonathan Trappe reported that he was having trouble controlling his balloons before landing Thursday evening, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He touched down safely and required no medical attention.

Trappe couldn't be reached immediately for comment.

He had hoped to be the first person to cross the Atlantic using a cluster of balloons. Instead of using a conventional hot-air balloon, he was using more than 300 helium-filled balloons, like those used in in the animated movie Up.

Trappe lifted off Thursday morning from Maine. By the evening, he was well on his way, headed toward Newfoundland. But a couple of hours later, he posted that he'd landed.

He was in communication with a search and rescue center in Halifax, Nova Scotia, said Lt. Steve Henley of the RCMP. Canadian officials tracked his movements on radar, he said.

The RCMP said Trappe planned to hike out of the remote area where he landed and make arrangements to remove his equipment.

The airborne journey had been expected to take anywhere from three days to six days.

"The Atlantic Ocean has been crossed many times, and in many ways, but never quite like this," Trappe said on his website before his departure.

In 2010, Trappe crossed the English Channel using a cluster of balloons. For his trans-Atlantic crossing, the basket in which he was riding was actually a lifeboat that could have been used if he ditched in the ocean.

Trappe said he'd worked on the trans-Atlantic crossing for two years.


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