In a stunt that looked fresh out of a Pixar movie, one man flew 8,300 feet (2530m) above ground lifted by nothing but helium balloons.
Tom Morgan strapped himself to a camping chair for the flight in something reminiscent of the famous animated movie ‘Up’.
The 38-year-old flew 24km (14.9 miles) across South Africa, and while it looks undeniably beautiful, it wasn’t a trip for the faint-hearted.
“It was a fairly indescribable feeling, wafting across Africa on a cheap
camping chair dangling from a load of balloons. Sort of peaceful and
terrifying in equal measure,” he said.
Morgan, who runs The Adventurists, a travel company based in Bristol, spent two days inflating the 100 balloons that would take him into the sky.
The flight was originally due to take place in Botswana, but after numerous failed attempts it was relocated to South Africa. The team reportedly had just enough helium left for a final attempt.
The flight accelerated quickly once it reached the inversion layer of the atmosphere, which causes a sudden temperature change.
“I had to keep my cool and start gradually cutting the balloons,” he told the BBC.
Matthew Dickens, event manager for The Adventurists, told CBS News: “We weren’t even sure Tom would come back alive. We didn’t think he was going to manage it. But yeah, he got there in the end.”
The voyage was not just a stunt, but a test run for an air race powered by balloons, which Morgan hopes to set-up through his company.
The Adventurists are already behind some of the globe’s most extreme adventures from the ‘Mongol Derby’, a 1000km horse race across Mongolia to the ‘Ice Run’ a motorbike ride across the globe’s largest frozen lake in Russia.
“We’ve done some pretty ridiculous things in the past, but this is up there
with the best of them,” Morgan said. “We can’t wait to get this up and running as a full race next year.”