Sky Boarding

Posted: July 25, 2019

A French inventor glides partway over the English Channel on a homemade “flyboard”—then crashes in the sea.

Franky Zapata took off from the French coastal town of Sangatte on Thursday. He was fastened to the small flying platform he designed. It looked like he was skateboarding on the sky!

About halfway across, he descended to get more fuel. (He was carrying a power pack full of kerosene.) But the platform he was meant to land on was moving too much because of waves. He couldn’t grab onto it. He fell into the water instead.

French divers rescued Mr. Zapata. He is doing fine.

Mr. Zapata wowed crowds in Paris on Bastille Day (July 14). He whirled over European leaders on the flyboard. But crossing the windy, ship-filled Channel is a much tougher challenge.

“He will do it again,” says Mr. Zapata’s wife. “He never sits back after a failure.”

Franky Zapata, a 40-year-old inventor, takes to the air in Sangatte, Northern France, at the start of his attempt to cross the channel from France to England on July 25. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)