French ‘fly board’ inventor fails to cross English Channel, plunges into sea

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A French aviation buff and inventor survived a near fatal incident after he crashed his homemade flyboard into a sea over the English Channel on Thursday.

The English Channel, also called simply the Channel, is the body of water that separates Southern England from northern France and links the southern part of the North Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. It is the busiest shipping area in the world

Franky Zapata has vowed to try again despite a scary incident.

He is said to have taken off from the French coastal town of Sangatte fastened to the small flying platform he designed.

As it looked like he was skateboarding on the sky, Zapata, was set to descend for a refueling stop about halfway across, the platform he was meant to land on was moving too much due to waves.

This resulted in him falling into the water, according to his wife  So he was not able to grab onto it, and he fell into the water, his wife Christelle was quoted as saying.

Zapata was rescued by French divers and is reportedly doing fine.

He had hoped to make it across 36 kilometers (22.4 miles) to the Dover area in southeast England in about 20 minutes. He was carrying a power pack full of kerosene, and was planning to refuel from a boat partway across.

Zapata, 40, wowed crowds in Paris on Bastille Day, whirling over European leaders on the flyboard. But crossing the windy, ship-filled Channel is a much tougher challenge.

He scheduled Thursday’s flight to coincide with the 110th anniversary of the first flight across the Channel, by French aviator Louis Bleriot on July 25, 1909 — who also left from Sangatte after multiple failed attempts. The beach where Zapata took off Thursday bears Bleriot’s name.

 

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