Quirky News

  • 8 April 2013, 10:44

Balloon flight over shark-infested sea

A South African man has flown from Robben Island to Cape Town - over a shark-infested ocean - using only helium balloons.

Matt Silver-Vallance, 37, took around an hour to make the 3.7 mile crossing above the Atlantic, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Wearing a wetsuit and a harness attached to 160 balloons, the adventurer made the flight to raise money for the Nelson Mandela children's' hospital.

He carried bags weighted with water to adjust his height, and an air gun and makeshift spear to pop the balloons.

Mr Silver-Vallance, a marketing manager, said the flight went well but the landing was "hairy".

He tried to pop some balloons with his air gun but the pellets just bounced off them. He had to resort to spearing 35 of the balloons, leaving him exhausted.

With his support team deciding that landing on a hard surface would be too dangerous, Mr Silver-Vallance dropped down a rope and then slid down into a sea rescue craft.

"Wow, that was crazy," he said. "Don't try this at home!"

The crossing was the first of its kind from Robben Island - where Nelson Mandela was held prisoner for 18 of the 27 years he was imprisoned.