Clearly, someone has seen the movie "Up!" one too many times. Or maybe Erik Roner just never grew out of that phase that all kids go through when they wonder how many helium balloons it would take before they could fly. Last week, Roner made it happen.
Roner is no stranger to over-the-top escapades. The Northern California man is an avid skier, which in and of itself is pretty tame. But he's also an active BASE jumper, a person who jumps off buildings or cliffs (on purpose) and parachutes to the ground.
So when Roner had the idea to use helium-filled balloons to lift himself into the air, it seemed only normal that he would follow through. And thanks to the invention of GoPro cameras, we have video footage of the whole epic stunt. Using 90 balloons, 50 tanks of helium, “a rickety old lawn chair,” and a parachute, Roner ascended to 8,000 feet.
As you'll notice when you watch the video above, at a little over 4,000 feet, Roner's first balloon pops. “That’s a popped balloon. They told me that it would be scary, and yes it is,” he remarked.
At 8,000 feet, a safe parachuting height, Roner shoots the balloons with a shotgun he brought along for that purpose. Then he jettisons himself and the lawn chair from the balloons and begins his free fall.
Although it looks like Roner chose a remote location for his stunt, I have to admit that I was more than a little bothered by the footage of the lawn chair shooting off into the atmosphere, not to mention the 90 balloons. (Maybe he organized a giant cleanup event after he stopped filming? Maybe?)
Either way, Roner enjoyed his feat. As he drifted slowly to the ground, he giggled one last comment, “That was epic.”
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