Jet man ditches into the sea
A Swiss pilot aiming to become the first person to complete an intercontinental crossing using a jet-powered wing was forced to ditch into the sea today.
Yves Rossy, the so-called Jet Man, was aiming to cross from Africa to Europe with the jet-propelled wing strapped to his back.
But about 15 minutes after he took off from above Tangier in Morocco, organisers wrote on the micro-blogging website Twitter: "He may be in the sea. We have search and rescue team in place."
TV and internet viewers saw Rossy alive in the sea after his landing.
Clothed in a flame-retardant suit, the 50-year-old daredevil jumped from a plane at 6,500ft and was intending to use his four-cylinder jet pack to power the eight-foot carbon fibre wing at speeds of up to 180mph across the 23 miles from outside Tangier in Morocco to Atlantera in southern Spain.
But he never made it across and ditched in the sea.
Organisers said Rossy had deployed his parachute and it appeared that both he and the wing "seemed intact".
A search and rescue team codenamed Falcon 1, involving former special forces members, later winched him to safety.
The jet wing weighed about 150lb with fuel and included four simple, kerosene-burning jet turbines to keep him airborne and propel him.
Created from a lightweight carbon composite, the wing had no steering devices, meaning he had to use his head and back to control the wing's movement.
He was fitted with a special suit, helmet and parachute to protect him from the jet turbines mounted just inches from him on the wing.
In September last year, Rossy cracked open the Champagne as he became the first person to fly solo across the English Channel using the single jet-propelled wing.
A global audience witnessed Rossy leap from a plane more than 8,200ft (2,500m) above France before soaring at more than 100mph over one of the world's busiest shipping lanes powered by four jets on his home-made wing.
Rossy, a former military pilot, traced the route of French aviation pioneer Louis Bleriot, who became the first person to fly across the Channel in a plane 99 years earlier.
Today, before making his record-breaking attempt, he told Sky News: "You don't have this chance many times in your life, so you take it when it's here."
The challenge's organisers said Rossy's wing had a "malfunction" and rescuers were taking him to hospital for a routine check-up.
A new attempt to set the record is expected early in the new year, they added.
Once on board the rescue helicopter, Rossy could be seen waving to onlookers through the open door.
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