In what looked like a scene out of the Disney movie “Up” (minus the house), Jonathan Trappe was lifted as high as 21,000 feet in the air using hundreds of helium-filled balloons. Trappe’s plan was to use the balloons to cross the Atlantic Ocean, a journey of more than 2,500 miles. Unfortunately for the balloonist, his trip was cut short when he had to abort his mission and crash-landed in Newfoundland, Canada.
Trappe, who has previously used helium balloons to cross the Alps and the English Channel, started out on his journey September 12 and was in the air for just 13 hours when he had to abandon ship. In an update on his Facebook page, Trappe posted, “Hmm, this doesn’t look like France.” While making it to France in 13 hours on what was supposed to be a three to six day trip would have certainly set some records, the map Trappe linked showed his location as Newfoundland.
In a statement released by Trappe’s team, “technical difficulties” were blamed for the crash landing. “Sadly, Jonathan has been forced to abandon his quest after technical difficulties. However, he is safe and well,” the statement read. According to Aero Network, “Trappe was unable to gain a steady hand on the errant balloon cluster, which at 3,000 cubic meters of volume, was the largest in the world.”
It has been reported that five men have died trying to do the same thing as Trappe, so he is lucky to be alive, something he readily acknowledges. “Honestly, I did not know if I would survive!”
There is no word yet on when the IT project manager from Raleigh, North Carolina man will attempt to set a record by crossing the Atlantic using only helium balloons again. Trappe’s balloonist team had to wait 100 days for the right conditions for this trip, so it could be a while. In the meantime, check out videos of Trappe’s liftoff for his most recent attempt as well as some of his successful projects (including lifting a fake house with helium balloons) below.