North Battleford, SK: May 27, 2008: The helium balloon of Michel Fournier, raises into the sky unattached to his capsule during a failed attempt to break the world record for distance, time and velocity for a skydive and altitude in a balloon on May 27, 2008 in North Battleford, Sask. The balloon was fully inflated when it was released but was accidentally detached from the capsule, leaving Fournier behind. Photo by Ryan Jackson/Edmonton Journal
I was in North Battleford from Sunday night until Wednesday morning covering “Le Grand Saut” (The Big Jump) where French adventurist Michel Fournier was going to attempt to break four world records. Fournier planned to take a giant helium balloon up to 130,000 feet (40,000 m) and jump!
If he were successful, he would beat Joe Kittinger’s 1960 record of 102,800 feet.
Fournier would have broken the record for distance, time in free fall, speed, and height in a balloon.
Monday’s launch was postponed due to weather unfortunately. Then Tuesday morning – All systems go! – They filled the balloon, released it…..and….. um….. “Hey, isn’t the capsule with Fournier inside suppose to be attached???
Due to a malfunction, the balloon separated from the capsule just as it was taking off. We watched as hundreds of thousands of dollars in materials and helium floated away and then fell to the ground.
It was sad and disappointing, especially since this is his third failed attempt, but Michel Fournier has a great spirit and says he will be back in August to try again.
I did three videos while I was there for edmontonjournal.com. One from the first launch which was canceled due to weather, one “raw video” of the balloon floating away, and finally a full three minute feature recapping the whole event.
World skydiving record attempt
Sights, sounds, and reaction to the postponed world record attempt to
skydive from 130,000 feet. May 26, 2008. Video by Ryan Jackson
Raw video of the balloon floating away
Raw video from the failed attempt by French adventurer Michel Fournier
to set world altitude and skydiving records. May 27, 2008. Video by
Ryan Jackson/Edmonton Journal
The final feature video looking back on the whole event
A look back at Michel Fournier’s attempt to set a world skydiving
record and what went wrong. Video by Ryan Jackson/Edmonton Journal
Ryan Jackson, Staff Photographer/Videographer