Frenchman zips across English Channel on hoverboard
ST MARGARET'S BAY, UNITED KINGDOM A Frenchman who has spent years developing a jet-powered hoverboard zoomed across the English Channel yesterday after a first attempt last month was cut short when he fell into the water while trying to refuel.
Inventor Franky Zapata set off on his "Flyboard" from Sangatte on the northern coast of France for the 20-minute trip to St. Margaret's Bay in Dover, on England's south coast.
Escorted by three helicopters, Mr Zapata glided across the water in the early morning light and landed in the bay, where dozens of onlookers and journalists awaited him.
The former jet-ski champion made the 35km crossing in 20 minutes, keeping an average speed of 140 kmh at a height of 15 to 20 metres above the water.
Mr Zapata, 40, tumbled into the middle of the busy Channel on July 25 after failing to land on a boat waiting to give him a fresh pack of kerosene.
This time, the refuelling boat was bigger and had a larger landing area, and Mr Zapata flew under the watchful eye of French navy vessels.
He has been developing his hoverboard for the past three years, despite losing two fingers during its maiden flight in his garage near Marseille.
Mr Zapata holds the Guinness World Record for the farthest hoverboard flight, a 2.2km trip over the Mediterranean Sea in April 2016.
He burst into the spotlight at this year's July 14 Bastille Day military parade in Paris, where he soared above a crowd of stunned onlookers that included French President Emmanuel Macron. - AFP