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FLYBOARD INVENTOR FRANKY ZAPATA FAILS IN BID TO CROSS THE CHANNEL

The former jet ski champion misses a landing platform mounted on a boat after setting off from Sangatte near Calais .Frank zapata missed a landing platform mounted on a boat as he wa aiming to land midway across the Channel to refuel the device,It was a disastrous moment but he was unhurt in the fall.

The 40 year old Zapata former jet ski champion was aiming to cross the 22-mile stretch of water in 20 to 15 minutes. This was the first time on the 110 anniversary of Louis Bleriot’s 1909 channel crossing, the very first time anyone had crossed the channel in a “heavier-than-air” aircraft .

The “flyboard” Zapata invented is capable of reaching speeds of nearly 87mph (140km/h) and is powered by 36kg of kerosene.

Franky Zapata arrived at Sangatte beach that something wasn’t quite right. Normally a confident, bouncy guy, he looked withdrawn and slightly nervous as he gazed across the Channel.

His team said they were concerned about helicopters and the number of ships in the Channel. Franky had just 10 minutes to find the vessel carrying his second rucksack of fuel and that was the only ship he was concerned about.

The launch itself was textbook. His wife Krysten helped him fix the 36kg rucksack in place and without any warning, off he shot, headed towards England.

Ten minutes later I met his son Max, in tears. I asked why he was crying and he told me his father had “fallen into the water”.

The atmosphere changed in a heartbeat. All of the initial exuberance evaporated in an instant. Word came through that Franky was alive and would be making his way back to France immediately.

Truth be told, he hadn’t flown his hoverboard further than a mile-and-a-half.

The problem this morning was with the refuelling stop mid-Channel. For some reason he missed the platform and ended up ditching into the sea.

Like all great inventors, Franky Zapata will no doubt learn from this and try again.

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