Man Flying to Europe with Helium Balloons Gives Up After Just 350 Miles

By Adam Clark Estes on at

Well, that was quick. Balloon-loving daredevil Jonathan Trappe was supposed to float all the way to Europe under 370 helium-filled balloons in three to six days, but he gave up after only 12 hours citing technical difficulties. He hadn't even made it out of North America.

Late Thursday night, Trappe posted a vague message to his fans on Facebook: "Hmm, this doesn't look like France." Indeed, it was not. Trappe was in Newfoundland, just 350 miles from where he took off in Caribou, Maine. Evidently, the cluster balloon set up that was supposed to carry him across the Atlantic had trouble stabilising and developed a yo-yo effect. It would drop rapidly touching down on the ocean's surface and would then shoot up in the air, climbing just as rapidly to altitudes as high as 21,000 feet.

You can't really blame Trappe for giving up so soon. After all, five people have died trying to accomplish the same feat. Trappe is safe and sound now, presumably enjoying his unexpected visit to Newfoundland, the land of that famous dog and not much else. [Guardian]