France’s hoverboard hero Franky Zapata failed in his attempt to cross English Channel

(CNN) — Some people swim the English Channel between Britain and France, others prefer to sail. French inventor Franky Zapata has attempted to do the same on a jet-powered hoverboard — but failed.

Zapata, a former jet ski racing champion, took to the skies Thursday on his Flyboard Air vehicle but missed a platform mounted on a boat as he tried to land midway for refueling, Reuters reported. The 40-year-old was uninjured in the fall.

The daredevil, who took off from from Sangatte in France, was attempting to mark the 110th anniversary of the first aerial crossing of the Channel and hoped to make the crossing in 20 minutes.

Zapata flew off from Sangatte in France

Zapata flew off from Sangatte in France


The inventor captured the world’s imagination when he took to the skies above Paris at Bastille Day parade on July 14 with a board that can reach an altitude of nearly 500 feet — with the potential to go much higher — and a speed of 87 miles per hour.

While the Bastille Day flight only used “3% of the machine’s capacity,” a successful crossing of the Channel will take “99.9%,” Zapata told CNN ahead of his Channel crossing.

Zapata said he believed he had a “30% chance” of making it across, and admitted to feeling greater pressure now that there is a lot more interest in his exploits.

“When you fly with your body, even your hands affect the direction you want to go in. You feel the turbulence and the air through your fingers,” Zapata told CNN.

“It’s like becoming a bird. But it’s also very hard. I have to fight against the wind with my legs so there’s pain too. It’s not as peaceful as it looks.”

CNN’s Jack Guy contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared here