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Atlantic balloonist falls short

A balloonist who was trying to cross the Atlantic using hundreds of helium-filled balloons has landed short of his goal in Newfoundland.

Jonathan Trappe posted on his Facebook page that he'd landed safely at an "alternate location." He 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, Mr Trappe was using more than 300 helium-filled balloons, like those used in in the animated film Up.

The US man lifted off on 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. "This doesn't look like France," he posted on Facebook.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Mr Trappe reported that he was having trouble controlling his balloons before landing Thursday evening. He touched down safely and required no medical attention.

The RCMP said he 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," Mr Trappe said on his website before his departure.

In 2010, he 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. He said he had worked on the trans-Atlantic crossing for two years.


From Belfast Telegraph