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Whoops! Runaway Balloon Leaves Skydiver Grounded.

French parachutist Michel Fournier was about to attempt a record-breaking skydive when disaster struck. A Canadian news team were recording the attempted launch. See what happens next.

Fournier, 64, was supposed to rise with the balloon for two hours as it climbed to an altitude of 40 kilometres, the very edge of the Earth's atmosphere. Then, wearing a pressurized suit to protect him from the near-vacuum and -115 C temperature, he was to jump out.

"There was this horrible deflating moment," Zakreski said. "Team members say this balloon is shot. It can't be reinflated."

"They say this was hundreds of thousands of euros literally drifting off into the Prairie sunrise."

Fournier had hoped to make the jump Monday, but postponed it because of heavy cloud cover and high winds. He also tried in 2002 and 2003, but was hindered by bad weather and a faulty balloon.

Julian Sadlowski , the mayor of North Battleford, was at the launch site Tuesday morning and watched the balloon float away. He said that while it's a disappointment for the entire town, Fournier is welcome back any time he wishes to attempt the dive again.

Fournier, who has been working on the parachute jump since 1987, was expected to reach speeds of 1,500 km/h as he freefell toward Earth during a 15-minute plunge.

The jump was supposed to set a number of records, including for highest altitude jump. American Joe Kittinger holds the record after a jump from 31,330 metres in 1960.

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Added: May-27-2008 
By: barnesy
Tags: Balloon, Drifts, Away, From, Record, Attempt
Marked as: featured
Views: 148876 | Comments: 78 | Votes: 4 | Favorites: 2 | Shared: 4 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 2
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