Records Float Away for Hapless Skydiver

Balloon sails without him as Fournier muffs third shot at parachuting from outer space
By Lev Weinstein,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2008 2:38 AM CDT
A balloon filled with helium rises into the sky but is not attached to capsule of French skydiver Michel Fournier.    (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, David Stobbe)
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(Newser) – The third time was not a charm for a retired French army officer-turned-daredevil who  hoped yesterday to parachute to earth from the edge of outer space. Michel Fournier's latest attempt to ride a balloon 25 miles up before his death-defying, 15-minute leap—a feat which would have smashed several records—ended with a whimper when his balloon floated away without him, the New York Times reports.

“It was like having a hammer over my head,” Fournier said."You just say, 'How come it didn't work?'" The balloon's detachment from Fournier's gondola was the latest setback in his 20-year, $20 million pursuit of the record books. Fournier, 64, plans to try again in August—and vowed next time to bring two balloons.