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Franky Zapata fails to cross English Channel on hoverboard

By Clyde Hughes
Franky Zapata, shown here flying his hoverboard during France's Bastille Day July 14, failed to cross the English Channel Thursday using the device. Photo by Ian Langsdon/EPA-EFE
Franky Zapata, shown here flying his hoverboard during France's Bastille Day July 14, failed to cross the English Channel Thursday using the device. Photo by Ian Langsdon/EPA-EFE

July 25 (UPI) -- Franky Zapata's quest to cross the English Channel on a jet-powered hoverboard failed Thursday morning when the former jet ski champion missed his boat landing midway through his attempt.

Zapata had hoped to refuel on the boat before continuing his trip from a Sangatte, France, beach to a location near Dover, England, when he could not negotiate the landing and fell into the water, The Guardian reported.

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"When I got closer to the platform, the boat took a wave and it hit the foot of the machine and broke it," Zapata said during a news conference after his attempt. "I lost balance (and) I fell in the water. The fly board is damaged, the electronic part has to be redone, the motors are ruined but the base is saved."

Zapata said he could see the British coast and was 11 miles from his British landing spot at St. Margaret's Bay when he crashed.

Zapata's attempt came on the 110th anniversary of the first aircraft crossing the English Channel and he said completing of it would have been a childhood dream.

"We're talking about a few centimeters," Zapata's team said after the try. "It's an enormous disappointment...but he will definitely try again."

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Zapata flew on the flying hoverboard during the annual Bastille Day parade in Paris this month. The invention is controlled by five small jet engines and fueled by kerosene carried in Zapata's backpack.

He set a goal of traveling about 87 mph while moving 50 to 65 feet above the water when he took off about 9 a.m. local time.

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