Cluster balloonist abandons Atlantic crossing

YORK HARBOUR, Newfoundland — A balloonist who tried to cross the Atlantic Ocean using hundreds of helium-filled balloons is heading home after landing in Newfoundland, far short of his goal.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Friday that it used a helicopter to retrieve U.S. balloonist Jonathan Trappe from the remote area where he landed a night earlier.

“It’s not the destination I set out for, but it’s kind of the way with real adventure. Adventure isn’t what you planned on, it’s what you find, and that’s what we have today,” he told the CBC.

Trappe landed safely in a rugged area near York Harbour after reporting that he was having trouble controlling his balloons Thursday evening, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Instead of using a conventional hot-air balloon, Trappe was using more than 300 colorful helium-filled balloons, like those used in in the animated movie “Up.”

He lifted off Thursday morning from Caribou, Maine, in hopes of becoming be the first person to cross the Atlantic using a cluster of helium balloons.

But he ran into trouble as he approached Newfoundland and was in communication with a search and rescue center in Halifax, Nova Scotia, said Lt. Steve Henley of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Stephenville. The balloonist’s movements were tracked by radar by Canadian officials, he said.

He told CBC that his calculations indicated he wasn’t going to make it to Europe so he decided to set down on land before crossing over open ocean, where a water landing would’ve been more dangerous. He said the landing had its hairy moments because he was coming in fast.

“We set out on this expedition for the adventure, and we got the adventure,” Trappe said.

Trappe will likely have to meet with Canada Border Service Agency before being allowed to return to the U.S., officials said.

The North Carolina native said he’d worked on the trans-Atlantic crossing for two years, and he was no stranger to using clusters of balloons. He’s once used them to lift a faux house, as in the Disney-Pixar movie, and he’d used them to cross the English Channel.

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

More in Local News

King County sheriff could face felony charge in groping case

A former deputy claims John Urquhart groped him. Renton police forwarded the case to the prosecutor.

Jordan Evers distributes coffee Sunday afternoon during the annual community meal at Carl Gipson Senior Center in Everett on November 19, 2017. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Firefighters serve Thanksgiving meals at Carl Gipson center

The next two feasts at the senior center in Everett will be Thanksgiving Day and Dec. 3.

Snohomish County Council passes a no-new-taxes budget

The spending plan still funds the hiring of five new sheriff’s deputies and a code enforcement officer.

Alleged philanderer attacked with hammer near Everett

His girlfriend had accused him of cheating and allegedly called on another man to confront him.

Pair charged with first-degree robbery in marijuana theft

A man was shot in the head during a holdup that was supposed to net about an ounce of pot.

Puffy-coated robbery suspect arrested on Whidbey

The suspect apparently wore the same outfit in 2 robberies at the same place in less than 2 weeks.

Planning — and patience — can ease Thanksgiving travel

The Washington State Department of Transportation offers information to help guide planning.

Agencies launch coordinated response to an opioid ‘emergency’

Health workers, law enforcement agencies and emergency managers are responding as they might to a disaster.

Mobile home collapse kills one person near Monroe

The single-wide fell off its cinder blocks, pinning the person underneath it.

Most Read