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

Minutes mattered the day Pat Ward was brought back to life

The Mukilteo police and fire chaplain died at breakfast. She got a second chance thanks to a waitress.

Cool additions at an elementary school in Everett

A totem pole and new gardens grace the courtyard of Whittier Elementary School.

Kids suspected in school’s smashed windows and other damage

The cost of the damage at Explorer Middle School in south Everett is estimated to be $5,000.

Recall issued for about 1,250 pounds of meat

Camano Island’s Sausage Haus products might be contaminated.

3 women seek open seat in 39th District

The GOP nominees hope to fill the opening created by the resignation of Republican John Koster.

Lake Stevens High senior has an entrepreneurial mind

John Cramer crafts and sells designer pens to help pay for college

Marysville-Arlington fiber-optic link planned by Comcast

The high-speed internet line, to be ready next year, is seen as a boost for business development.

Front Porch

EVENTS Health fairs A Senior Healthy Living Fair is set for noon… Continue reading

Cellphone carrier substation in Snohomish vandalized

Detectives with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a… Continue reading

Most Read