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France's 'flying man' to make second cross-Channel bid

Franky Zapata makes pledge moments after returning to shore after his attempt to fly from France to England on his Flyboard failed

25 July 2019
By Connexion journalist

'Flying man' Franky Zapata has vowed to make a second attempt to fly across the Channel on his jet-powered Flyboard 'soon' - after he had made the necessary repairs.

Former jetski champion Mr Zapata, 40, was fished out of the sea after falling in during a refuelling manoeuvre at the midpoint of his journey.

On his return to land at Boulogne-sur-Mer, he told journalists: "I'm disappointed. Now, I'm sure I'm going to go back through it again.

"When, I don't know, but in the days that follow. I have to renegotiate with everyone."

He said he would have to repair the Flyboard before it would fly again. "All the electronics are ruined," he said. "We have to analyze the failure and come back stronger in a few days."

He had taken off from Sangatte in northern France and had planned to land at St Margaret’s Bay, just outside Dover. He had hoped to make the 35kilometre crossing in 20 minutes, keeping an average speed of 140 kph at a height of 15-20 metres above the water.

But he went into the sea after missing his landing point on the refuelling vessel. He was quickly rescued by support divers. Other than a scratch on his right elbow, he had escaped injury.

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