Home World U.S. News Jonathan Trappe sets off on Atlantic helium balloon crossing

Jonathan Trappe sets off on Atlantic helium balloon crossing

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Jonathan Trappe, who is trying to cross the Atlantic in a lifeboat suspended by some 370 multicolored helium balloons, says he has made his first stop-over landing.

Jonathan Trappe lifted off from the city of Caribou in the state of Maine amid heavy fog at dawn on Thursday.

Ten hours later, Jonathan Trappe said on Facebook he had “landed safe” and would spend the night at the undisclosed location.

Ascending up to 25,000ft, Jonathan Trappe hopes to cover his “epic” 2,500-mile trip to Europe within six days.

Jonathan Trappe, an IT manager from North Carolina, has previously completed successful cluster balloon voyages across the Alps and the English Channel.

Depending on weather conditions, Jonathan Trappe could touch down anywhere between Northern Africa and Scandinavia.

“Weather is absolutely the most dangerous factor,” he said minutes before take-off.


“It’s the only thing that will carry me across, but bad conditions could also ruin the attempt or endanger my life.”

The capsule the adventurer is riding in is a lifeboat, which can be used in case he is forced to land over water.

Jonathan Trappe is trying to cross the Atlantic in a lifeboat suspended by some 370 multicolored helium balloons

Jonathan Trappe is trying to cross the Atlantic in a lifeboat suspended by some 370 multicolored helium balloons

“This is a serious piece of emergency gear that mariners rely upon to save their lives if their mother ship goes down,” Jonathan Trappe said.

Some 150 volunteers helped to fill the balloons with helium on Wednesday evening.

At sunrise, Jonathan Trappe ascended from a softball field in Caribou, near the Canadian border, in a scene reminiscent of the animated movie Up, in which a house attached to cluster balloons travelled across the skies.

“It was nail-biting waiting for a weather window that would allow me to get up into the air and catch those transatlantic winds we’d been seeing,” he said.

“I need to get on them and ride them across like a conveyor belt.”

By Thursday afternoon, Jonathan Trappe confirmed he was heading toward Newfoundland.

“In the quiet sky, above the great Gulf of St. Lawrence, traveling over 50mph – in my little yellow rowboat, at 18,000 feet,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

Jonathan Trappe will drop ballast in order to gain altitude, and pop or release balloons to descend.

He is relying on weather data from the same meteorologist who advised daredevil Felix Baumgartner on his record-breaking skydive from space last year.

Jonathan Trappe said it took him “two years of work and years more of dreams” to prepare for his journey.

“My heart could never live a long life the way it is beating now,” he wrote on his website.

“I have been looking at an epic challenge – one that honestly may prove to be beyond me – and I’ve changed my entire life to make it happen.”

But he also spoke of the dangers involved in his record-breaking attempt.

“Five people have lost their lives attempting to cross these waters in a balloon, and two non-pilots were lost into the oceans flying cluster balloons,” he said.

Jonathan Trappe’s flight can be tracked live via satellite.

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