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Man Using Cluster Balloons Lands in Newfoundland

By: AP
By: AP
Photo from AP / Chris Rogeski

Photo from AP / Chris Rogeski

Sept. 13, 2013

YORK HARBOR, Newfoundland (AP)— A balloonist who was trying to cross the Atlantic Ocean using hundreds of helium-filled balloons landed short of his goal in Newfoundland.

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

Instead of using a conventional hot-air balloon, Trappe was using more than 300 helium-filled balloons, like those used in in the animated movie "Up."

He lifted off Thursday morning from Maine and had hoped to be the first person to cross the Atlantic using a cluster of helium balloons.

But he ran into trouble as he approached Newfoundland and was in communication with a search and rescue center in Halifax, Nova Scotia, said Lt. Steve Henley of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Stephenville. The balloonist's movements were tracked by radar by Canadian officials, he said.

Trappe told local officials that on Friday he planned to hike out of the remote area where he landed and make arrangements to remove his equipment.

The U.S. man launched earlier Thursday from Caribou, Maine.

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

Trappe, who couldn't immediately be reached for comment, is no stranger to cluster balloons.

He's used them to lift a faux house, as in the Disney-Pixar movie. 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 ditches in the ocean.

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

By Thursday 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.


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