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Why Man Crossed Eng. Channel Carried by Balloons

American adventurer Jonathan Trappe got carried away - literally.

The 36-year-old Raleigh, N.C. man crossed the English Channel Friday in a specially-equipped chair carried by a cluster of 54 brightly-colored helium balloons that looked like a bunch of balloons that got away from a kid at a carnival.

He is the first cluster-balloonist to cross the channel that way.

Trappe says it took him about three-and-a-half hours to float from a field in Kent, in southeast England to Dunkirk, in northern France.

"I can see France very clearly, just as I can see England," he said at one point.

Equipped with navigation and tracking devices, Trappe reached a top altitude of 7,500 feet and speeds of up to 25 mph before setting down in a lettuce patch 22 miles from where he started.

He controlled his altitude by cutting away balloons - and popping them.

Trappe offered to pay the owner of the farm for damages caused by his landing.

He was also greeted by French police, who said they were surprised by his unorthodox arrival. But Trappe avoided arrest after proving he had clearance for his border-crossing from both French and British aviation authorities.

When asked why he did it, Trappe said the channel "called to him."

And on "The Early Show" Monday, he told co-anchor Harry Smith the tranquility of the completely silent flight - no engine noise of any kind - truly stands out. It was, he said, a "tremendously beautiful" experience.

Trappe added that he had "a great time. And it's not just about the balloons. It's about dreams. And inspiration. And accomplishing what you set out to do."

How did he get the idea?

"Didn't we all have this idea?" as youngsters, Trappe returned the question. " .. Just grabbing onto a giant cluster of toy balloons and floating off, if you could get enough balloons? I think it's an idea that crosses cultures and crosses border - in fact, literally now crosses borders."

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