Balloonist trying to cross Atlantic with 400 balloons ditches in Newfoundland

CORNER BROOK, N.L. – An American balloonist has abandoned his attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a boat suspended by almost 400 balloons after experiencing technical problems over Newfoundland.

Police say Jonathan Trappe touched down Thursday at about 8 p.m. just south of York Harbour in western Newfoundland.

Cpl. Steve Henley said police received a call from the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax indicating that Trappe was having trouble controlling the helium-filled balloons.

Henley said Trappe is safe and was not hurt when he landed in the woods, where he planned to camp for the night.

On Friday, CBC reported that it had pick up Trappe in a chartered helicopter.

“I’ve never been so glad to see the media,” he told a CBC reporter when he was found.

The adventurer set out Thursday from Caribou, Maine, hoping to be the first person to make the crossing in the device that looks similar to one featured in the children’s movie “Up.”

An online post on his site confirms that Trappe had to abandon the attempt just 12 hours after he lifted off.

“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 is 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 transatlantic crossing, the basket in which he was riding was actually a lifeboat that could have been used if he ditched in the ocean.

Trappe said he’d worked on the transatlantic 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.

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