After three failed attempts in Botswana, British thrill-seeker Tom Morgan successfully sat in a camping chair attached to helium-filled party balloons and flew 8,000 feet over South Africa in a stunt likened to Pixar's animated movie "Up."
The 38-year-old, who founded The Adventurists organization "to create adventures," traveled 16 miles in a 2 1/2-hour flight after spending two days inflating 100 balloons, according to The Telegraph and Daily Mail.
"It was a fairly indescribable feeling, wafting across Africa on a cheap camping chair dangling from a load of balloons," Morgan told The Telegraph. "Sort of peaceful and terrifying in equal measure."
Morgan came up with the idea from reading an article about a 1905 gas balloon race, and he thought, "we could organize the world's most ridiculous air race."
Because of bad weather in which wind gusts would shred the balloons, the attempt was moved from Botswana to a place near Johannesburg. There was just enough helium to make one last attempt, Matt Dickens, event manager for The Adventurists, told the Daily Mail.
"The problem was finding a good weather window and it was difficult to protect the balloons as they kept bursting," Morgan told the Daily Mail.
"It was completely silent and the view was amazing. The whole thing was magical, but I don’t think it will be a commercial success."
The flight was not without some obvious and not-so-obvious concerns.
"I didn't know what height the balloons would burst or what the sun would do to them," Morgan said. "At 8,000 feet they started accelerating—into the flight path [of planes approaching Johannesburg Airport]."
He told the BBC he "had to keep my cool" and gradually began "cutting the balloons" to make his descent to the ground, which he did successfully.
“We weren’t even sure Tom would come back alive," Dickens told CBS News. "We didn’t think he was going to manage it. But yeah, he got there in the end."
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