Associated Press
September 13, 2013 08:40 AM

A balloonist who was attempting to cross the Atlantic Ocean using hundreds of helium-filled balloons has landed short of his goal in Newfoundland. It’s unclear what’s next.

Jonathan Trappe posted Thursday night on his Facebook page that he’d landed safely at an “alternate location.”

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

The North Carolina native lifted off Thursday morning from Caribou, Maine. He hoped to be the first person to cross the Atlantic using a cluster of balloons.

Trappe’s goal was to float across the ocean.

“The Atlantic Ocean has been crossed many times, and in many ways, but never quite like this,” he said on his website, which had detailed his efforts.

City Manager Austin Bleess said about 150 volunteers assisted in filling the helium balloons starting Wednesday night. Trappe and his balloons lifted off from a foggy softball field in northern Maine, near the Canadian border, at sunrise Thursday.

“Man, it was awesome,” Bleess said. “It was amazing to watch.”

On hand for Trappe’s lift off was Joe Kittinger, a retired Air Force officer who once set a record for jumping from a balloon 19.5 miles up and later became the first solo balloonist to cross the Atlantic in 1984.

As for Trappe, he’s no stranger to the cluster balloons.

He’s used them to fly in an office chair, and he’s used them to lift a faux house, just like in the Disney-Pixar movie.

In 2010, he crossed the English Channel using a cluster of balloons. For his trans-Atlantic crossing, the basket in which he was riding is actually a lifeboat that could be used if he ditched in the ocean.

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