Jonathan Trappe had a dream — and perhaps an unhealthy reverence for the 2009 Disney/Pixar movie Up. For two years, Trappe prepared to become the first person to cross the Atlantic carried by a bunch of helium balloons. On Thursday morning, he started his voyage in Caribou, Maine, in a yellow lifeboat suspended by more than 300 colorful balloons. It was a triumphal launch. (Watch above.)
Some 12 hours later, the planned six-day journey was over, in a remote corner of western Newfoundland. Trappe, an IT worker from North Carolina, noted dryly on his Facebook page: "Hmm, this doesn't look like France." His team cited a technical issue in his premature landing. Perhaps the real lesson is that it's just not a great idea to try and cross the ocean suspended by helium balloons.
This wasn't Trappe's first adventure with travel by helium balloon. And, as he explains in the video below, his first two outings were successes — in 2010 he crossed the English Channel in a wicker chair tied to a cluster of balloons, and the next year he crossed the Alps.
So, maybe Trappe's hopes weren't totally misplaced. It will be surprising if he doesn't try again. CBS News tells the story, with helpful video clips from Up — in case you're not a Pixar fan or have no young friends or relatives:
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