Page last updated at 16:04 GMT, Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Jetman Yves Rossy fails in Africa-Europe flight attempt


'Jetman' Yves Rossy's failed flight across, and rescue from, the Straits of Gibraltar

A Swiss man has failed in his attempt to become the first person to fly solo across the Strait of Gibraltar using a single jet-propelled wing.

Yves Rossy, known as Jetman, ditched in the water and was rescued minutes after setting off from above Morocco.

Organisers said he had deployed his parachute after the wing malfunctioned, possibly owing to engine failure.

The 50-year-old became the first person to cross the Channel using a jet-powered wing in September 2008.

Wednesday's 38km (23 mile) flight had been billed as the first crossing of its kind over the north Atlantic between Africa and Europe.

It appeared to begin well as Mr Rossy launched himself from a small plane about 1,950m (6,500ft) above Tangier in Morocco.


The former fighter pilot had planned to cut his engines, open a parachute and land in Atlanterra, southern Spain, after a flight lasting up to a quarter of an hour.

But within minutes it was clear all was not well and Mr Rossy plunged into the sea.

He was unhurt when fished from the water by a helicopter, but had been taken to hospital as a precaution, said organisers.

"The good news is that he is fine," Stuart Sterzel, spokesman for sponsors, told reporters near Atlanterra. "He gave the thumbs-up sign through the door of the helicopter."

He added that Mr Rossy would probably attempt the crossing again in the new year.

Before setting off on Wednesday, Mr Rossy had said the main dangers were engine failure and losing control of the wing.

The Spanish coast guard was expected to retrieve the wing and parachute from the sea.

The carbon-fibre jet-propelled craft, with a span of more than 2m (6ft 6in), is designed for speeds of 220 km/h (138 mph).

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