Franky ‘Flyboard’ Zapata fails in attempt to cross Channel | World news

Frenchman Franky Zapata has failed in his effort to cross the Channel on his jet-power hoverboard.

Zapata fell into the sea as he attempted to land on a vessel to refuel half way across the Channel.

A member of his team said the movement of the waves required “perfect timing” and the landing platform had shifted “a few centimetres” as he came down.

“We’re talking about a few centimetres. It’s an enormous disappointment…but he will definitely try again,” a member of Zapata’s support team said.

He was not thought to have been injured. He was wearing a lifejacket when he set off.

Zapata, 40, had hoped to succeed in what he said was a “kid’s dream” on the 110th anniversary of the first aircraft crossing of the Channel by his aviator compatriot Louis Blériot.

Zapata left a stretch of beach at Sangatte near Calais at 9.05am local time.

Locals and television crews watched as the five mini turbo-jets on the Flyboard Air roared and he rose into the air heading disappearing over the sea.

There followed around 10 nervous minutes before he arrived at a refuelling vessel in the middle of the Channel where he was expected to stop for two minutes to change the backpack carrying the kerosene fuel powering the Flyboard.

The landing platform is a metal structure measuring only one square metre. Zapata was supposed to land, throw off his backpack carrying the fuel and strap on another backpack with enough fuel to make it to St Margaret’s Bay near Dover.

He covered 18km and reached the refuelling vessel in the middle of the Channel. The sea was not rough, but a slight movement of the landing platform because of waves threw him off balance and sent him into the water.

Zapata wowed crowds on 14 July – Bastille Day – flying over a military parade on Paris’s Place de la Concorde in the presence of The French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

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