Balloons daredevil completes Channel crossing

A daring adventurer crossed the English Channel today strapped in a chair beneath several dozen helium-filled balloons.

Jonathan Trappe set off from a field in Kent early this morning hoping to become the first cluster balloonist to cross the stretch of water.



The US adventurer, 36, was held at the mercy of the prevailing winds beneath his colourful collection of gigantic inflatables.



He set off from Kent Gliding Club in Challock, near Ashford, shortly after 5am, taking about an hour to travel the 10 miles to the coast.



Mr Trappe spent about an hour and three quarters sailing silently over the Channel before reaching Dunkirk.



As he soared high over the French countryside he began cutting away balloons to aid his descent, but continued heading towards the Belgium border.



Mr Trappe's seat pod was packed with position-finding and communication equipment.



A series of updates revealed that he was "OK".



Before setting off, Mr Trappe told Sky News his final destination was unknown because of the weather.



He said: "Part of the adventure is you don't know when you need to land."



Mr Trappe has already made a number of trips using his balloon cluster.



Last month he claimed a new world record for the longest free-floating balloon flight, flying 109 miles across North Carolina.



He described the English Channel as an "iconic ribbon of water that is calling", and in March visited both England and France to meet with aviation authorities.



His feat was reminiscent of the hero of the recent hit animated film Up. That saw grumpy pensioner Carl Fredricksen (voiced by actor Edward Asner) attach hundreds of coloured balloons to his house and fly off to South America.

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