A madcap adventurer’s bid to float across the Atlantic under 365 party balloons came down to earth with a bump today.
Jonathan Trappe had dreamed of touching down in Paris to world acclaim.
Instead he crash-landed in pitch darkness a few hundred miles from his start point.
He later admitted: “Honestly, I did not know if I would survive!”
He had been aloft just 13 hours... and it was Friday the 13th.
But after Jonathan, 39, clambered out of his lifeboat “basket” in New**foundland, Canada, he saw the funny side, posting a Facebook message saying: “Hmm, this doesn’t look like France.”
The American had wanted to be the first man to make the 2,500 miles across the Atlantic using just helium.
Jonathan, an IT project manager from Rayleigh, North Carolina, had lifted off from the city of Caribou in the US state of Maine in heavy fog just after dawn yesterday.
Partly inspired by the Disney Pixar animated movie Up, about an elderly widower who floats his home into the air with balloons, Jonathan’s journey ended on a definite downer near the isolated Bay of Islands.
The team overseeing his flight confirmed he was preparing to return home.
A statement read: “Sadly, Jonathan has been forced to abandon his quest after technical difficulties. However, he is safe and well.”
Sympathisers included Virgin boss and fellow balloonist Richard Branson.
He tweeted: “Commiserations to Jonathan Trappe, who has abandoned his Up-style cluster balloon crossing. I know how you must feel!”
Jonathan previously completed successful cluster balloon voyages across the Alps and the English Channel.
He had hoped to cover his epic flight within six days but admitted that winds could have blown him anywhere from Norway to North Africa.
The adventurer had spent more than three months waiting for perfect wind conditions.
“Weather is absolutely the most dangerous factor,” he said before take-off.
He was well aware the voyage was very dangerous.
Since 1970, five people have died trying to fly balloons across the Atlantic.