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Trans-Atlantic Balloon Bid Falls Short

Jonathan Trappe is seen flying is cluster balloon ship on September 12, 2013. (Paul Cyr Barcroft media)
Jonathan Trappe’s bid to fly across the Atlantic Ocean carried by hundreds of colorful balloons ended just 12 hours after it began.

“Sadly Jonathan has been forced to abandon his quest early after experiencing technical difficulties over Newfoundland,” read a statement on his website. “However, we are happy to report he is safe and well.”

Suspended from 370 balloons, Trappe took off from Caribou, Maine, at 6:30 a.m. Thursday. While weather was seen as the biggest threat to Trappe’s attempt, it was a technical issue with the balloons that forced the adventurer to ditch in Newfoundland, Canada.

According to his website, Trappe, at one point, reached a speed of about 120 kilometers per hour and an altitude of nearly 4,600 meters

In 2010, Trappe, an IT consultant from North Carolina, became the first person ever to cross the English Channel using a cluster balloon system. He holds the world record for the longest cluster balloon flight at 14 hours.

A Trans-Atlantic flight could have taken several days depending on wind speeds.

Trappe’s attempt was the first ever using the cluster balloon system. Five people have died while attempting the crossing using more conventional balloons.