A high-flying Canuck was cuffed over the weekend after overflying the Calgary Stampede in a lawn chair suspended beneath 120 helium-filled balloons.
Daniel Boria had planned to skydive into the rodeo extravaganza as a publicity stunt for his company All Clean Natural. With his $20 chair hauled aloft by $12,000 of helium, he quickly found the wind had other ideas, the Toronto Star reports.
Boria said: "I was sitting in a lawn chair looking down through the clouds at 747 airplanes, and looking up to a cluster of helium balloons."
"I rose to a certain altitude and the winds got pretty intense. I was somersaulting out the chair and it felt like minus 30. I watched below as the Stampede and my dream drifted away."
Having parachuted to earth, "possibly breaking his foot in the process", Boria was later cuffed and charged with "mischief causing danger to life".
He also faces federal charges relating to airspace violation. He admitted: "I did anticipate they would be a little upset. It's already worse than I thought it would be."
A police spokesman said: "A stunt like this would require authorization from Transport Canada. For us, the police, we usually only deal with the aftermath. In this case, we are lucky that he only sustained minor injuries."
Indeed, Boria evidently hadn't read the cautionary tale of Catholic priest and Darwin Award recipient Father Adelir Antonio. Back in 2008, the 51-year-old perished during a similar helium-powered attempt to publicise his "plan to build spiritual rest stops for truckers", when he was carried over the sea off Brazil's southern coast.
Antonio was probably inspired by pioneer "Lawn Chair Larry" – Larry Walters of Los Angeles – who in 1982 hit 16,000ft during a 14-hour white knuckle ride which ended with him dangling from a power line and at the receiving end of a $1,500 Federal Aviation Administration fine.
Boria originally intended to skydive from an aircraft, following some basic parachute training in the US. He explained: "We couldn't find anyone who could get me to that altitude. No pilots were willing to lose their license to fly me into controlled airspace."
"We went as far [as] to consider bringing a Mexican into the country as a temporary worker to fly the plane. That's when we turned to helium."
He concluded: "Sometimes you've got to live life on a limb if you truly believe in your company." ®
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