Man strapped to 100 helium balloons flies 15 miles at 8,000 feet

Remember “Danny Deckchair“? The 2003 movie told the story of an Australian cement truck driver who flies away from his monotonous suburban life by attaching balloons to a chair.

Well, there’s a real-life Danny Deckchair who recently took flight with the help of 100 helium balloons. Tom Morgan strapped himself to a lawn chair, which was attached to 100 helium balloons, and up and away he went. He managed to fly 15.5 miles across South Africa, reaching heights of up to 8,000 feet.

Morgan’s journey wasn’t as easy as it sounds, however. It was the result of hard work and planning. You see, Morgan runs The Adventurists, an adventure company based in Bristol, England, and he’s planning the first-ever competitive helium balloon race in Africa.

In preparation for the epic event, Morgan tried it out for himself to see how it would all work. After several failed attempts in Botswana, he decided to give it a try in South Africa.

“The problem was finding a good weather window and it was difficult to protect the balloons as they kept bursting,” Morgan told to BBC.

Morgan and his team had just enough helium to give the experiment one more go. They spent two days filling the balloons ahead of his flight. On Oct. 23, he took off from a spot just north of Johannesburg.

Morgan told BBC the experience of being in flight was “unbelievably cool,” but also said he felt “somewhere between terrified and elated.” Check out this amazing video footage of Morgan’s flight in action:

When he began to reach the inversion layer of the atmosphere, where the temperature rises, his balloon-powered chair began to accelerate extremely quickly and he had to gradually start cutting the balloons.

“We weren’t even sure Tom would come back alive. We didn’t think he was going to manage it,” Matthew Dickens, event manager for The Adventurists, told CBS News. “But yeah, he got there in the end.”

What a cool story! We’re so glad that Morgan got to experience the thrill of a lifetime and that he made it back safe and sound. Here’s hoping his dream of a competitive helium balloon race comes true so others can have this one-of-a-kind experience.


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About the Author
Kate Streit
Kate Streit lives in Chicago. She enjoys stand-up comedy, mystery novels, memoirs, summer and pumpkin spice anything. Visit Scripps News to see more of Kate's work.

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