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Jonathan Trappe: Man to use cluster of ballons to cross Atlantic

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Cluster of balloons used in trans-Atlantic attempt

CARIBOU, Maine (AP) — Hundreds of multicolored balloons were used Thursday to launch a balloonist for a trans-Atlantic crossing look like a page taken from the script of the movie "Up."

Instead of using a conventional hot-air balloon, Jonathan Trappe lifted off using more than 300 helium-filled balloons, like those used in Carl Fredricksen's aerial adventure in the Disney-Pixar movie.

Trappe's goal is to float across the ocean.

"The Atlantic Ocean has been crossed many times, and in many ways, but never quite like this," the North Carolina native said on his website, which detailed his efforts.

City Manager Austin Bleess said about 150 volunteers assisted in filling the helium balloons starting Wednesday night. Trappe and his balloons lifted off from a foggy softball field at sunrise Thursday.

"Man, it was awesome," Bleess said. "It was amazing to watch."

Trappe says he's been working on the cluster balloon trans-Atlantic crossing for two years and hoped to be the first person to succeed in using doing so. By Thursday afternoon, he was well on his way, headed toward Newfoundland.

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