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

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 stabilizing 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]

Meet the Man Attempting to Cross the Atlantic Using Only Balloons

Jonathan Trappe loves balloons. In fact, the 39-year-old IT manager loves them so much that he's trusting them with his life as he attempts to become the first person to cross the Atlantic using only a life raft and 370 helium-filled balloons. If that sounds crazy, that's because it is.

Trappe took off from Caribou, Maine, on Thursday morning and will fly as high as 25,000 feet above the Earth's surface. Though the colorful setup looks like a real life version of Up, the attempt will be incredibly dangerous: Five people have already died trying to cross the Atlantic in hot air balloons.


But Trappe is uniquely experienced. He's already successfully crossed the English Channel, as well as the Alps, with a cluster of balloons. He's broken the record for the longest-ever cluster balloon voyage after spending 16 hours in the air. If anyone is going to accomplish this feat, he's the most likely candidate.

Trappe launched his helium-powered craft early this morning from Caribou, Maine, and the trip is expected to last three to five more days. Which is exactly three to five days longer than I'd ever want to sit in this contraption. [BuzzFeed]