Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wait for me!

A French skydiver's latest attempt to set a new free-fall record ended when his ride to the sky left without him. The helium balloon Michel Fournier was going to use Tuesday to soar to the stratosphere detached from the capsule he was going to use to jump from 130,000 feet.

It happened after the balloon was inflated on the ground at the airport in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. The balloon drifted away into the sky without the capsule.

A disappointed Fournier left the capsule and walked to the hanger. He was hugged by members of his supporters.

"It was like having a hammer over my head," he said later. "When it doesn't work like that you just cannot think of anything. You just say, `How come it didn't work?' "

The launch team members said static electricity may have caused a small shock which set off one of five charges designed to release the capsule from the balloon after the jump.

Fournier isn't giving up, saying he'll try again in August.

The balloon cost almost $400,000 and Fournier was said to have already exhausted his finances. But he said he'll bring two balloons next time.

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