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article imageFlying Frenchman to make new Channel bid this week: team

By AFP     Jul 29, 2019 in World

A daredevil French inventor who last week narrowly failed in an eye-catching bid to cross the Channel on a jet-powered flyboard will make a new attempt in the next days, his team announced on Monday.

Franky Zapata, 40, a former jet-skiing champion, will make a new bid to fly from northern France to southern Britain at the end of this week.

"He does not want to end on a failure. He will try again at the end of this week. Either Friday, Saturday or Sunday, depending on the weather," his spokesman told AFP.

Zapata had to be fished out of the water in mid-Channel by rescuers during the bid Thursday after falling into the busy shipping lane during a tricky refuelling manoeuvre.

He had earlier provoked gasps of astonishment from onlookers in northern France when he zoomed into the sky, soaring some 15-20 metres (50-65 feet) above the water at the start.

"Franky is ready," said the spokesman. "He spent all weekend in Marseille" to repair the damaged flyboard.

Zapata sprang to national prominence at the July 14 Bastille Day military parade when he soared above the Place de la Concorde in Paris in front of world leaders, including President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

He carried a rifle during that demonstration and the French defence ministry said it was studying how the flyboard could be used by its troops.

Zapata's flyboard, which is about the size of a skateboard, is powered by five small jet engines that allow him to fly at up 190 kilometres an hour (118 mph) and for about 10 minutes before he has to refuel.

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