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Man using cluster balloons lands in Newfoundland

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A balloon cluster carrying Jonathan Trappe lifts off from Caribou, Maine, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013. Unlike a conventional hot-air balloon, Trappe lifted off Thursday using hundreds of helium-filled balloons clustered together. Trappe hopes to be the first person to successfully complete a trans-Atlantic flight using the balloon cluster.
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CARIBOU, Maine (AP) — A balloonist who was attempting to cross the Atlantic Ocean using hundreds of helium-filled balloons has landed short of his goal in Newfoundland. 

Instead of using a conventional hot-air balloon, Jonathan Trappe was using more than 300 helium-filled balloons, like those used in the animated movie “Up.” He’d hoped to make history by being the first to use a cluster of helium balloons to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

Trappe posted on his Facebook page that he’d landed safely at an “alternate location” Thursday night.

The North Carolina native launched earlier Thursday from Caribou.

“The Atlantic Ocean has been crossed many times, and in many ways, but never quite like this,” the North Carolina native said on his website before his departure.

Trappe, who couldn’t be reached immediately for comment, was no stranger to cluster balloons.

He’s used them to lift a faux house, as in the Disney-Pixar movie. In 2010, he crossed the English Channel using a cluster of balloons. For his trans-Atlantic crossing, the basket in which he was riding was actually a lifeboat that could have been used if he ditches in the ocean.

Trappe said he’d worked on the trans-Atlantic crossing for two years.

By Thursday evening, he was well on his way, headed toward Newfoundland. But a couple of hours later, he posted that he’d landed. “This doesn’t look like France,” he posted on Facebook.

There was no immediate word on what’s next for Trappe.

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