Balloonist's bid to cross Atlantic ends in failure

2013-09-13 14:04
A balloon cluster carrying Jonathan Trappe lifts off from Caribou, Maine. (File, AP)

A balloon cluster carrying Jonathan Trappe lifts off from Caribou, Maine. (File, AP)

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Washington - An American adventurer's bid to float across the Atlantic to Europe in a rowboat suspended by a cluster of 370 helium balloons ended in failure after he was forced to land in the Canadian province of Newfoundland, it was confirmed on Friday.

Balloon enthusiast Jonathan Trappe's attempt had earned comparisons with the plot of Oscar-winning animated movie "Up", about a pensioner who uses balloons to fly his home to South America.

However Trappe's daring intercontinental flight ended before he attempted the difficult Atlantic crossing late on Thursday when he landed in Newfoundland.

"Landed safe, at an alternate location. Remote. I put the exposure canopy up on the boat. Will stay here for the night," Trappe, aged 39, wrote on his Facebook page, roughly 13 hours after taking off.

Shortly before his post, he had commented: "Hmm, this doesn't look like France".

A satellite tracking website showed Trappe had come down on Newfoundland's west coast, past the town of Corner Brook.

Trappe had earlier posted from altitude after taking off from Caribou, Maine, to the strains of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and cheers from his ground crew.

"In the quiet sky, above the great Gulf of St Lawrence, traveling over 50 mph in my little yellow rowboat at 18 000 feet," or 80km/h and 5 500m, he posted.

Trappe has previously flown cluster balloons over the English Channel and the Alps and had expected to cross to Europe or North Africa in three to six days, depending on weather.

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