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Hot air balloons break world record with Channel crossing

Some of the 100 balloons taking part in a World Record attempt fly over Dover in Kent. Picture by Gareth Fuller, Press Association
Peter Cary, Press Association

A fleet of hot air balloons has unofficially broken a new world record to become the largest successful balloon attempt to cross the English Channel.

Guinness World Records confirmed the event's organisers had failed to make an official application before embarking on the journey involving more than 80 craft, rendering any new world record void until its team had verified the achievement.

The previous record was set in 2011 when 49 balloons crossed the Channel in an attempt organised by members of recruitment firm Datum RPO and global marketing group Exclusive Ballooning, who were also behind the latest attempt.

A Guinness World Records spokeswoman said the organisation hopes to "help celebrate" the record, once it is substantiated by its staff.

She said: "When Exclusive Ballooning's application is received, Guinness World Records will review (the) evidence so that we can verify the attempt as we would love to confirm that this is indeed an official record, and help celebrate their achievement."

A member of the Exclusive Ballooning team later confirmed they will be submitting a retrospective application to ensure the record stands.

Clusters of the participating balloons began touching down on French soil shortly before 10.30am, having successfully completed the 26-mile (42km) voyage across one of the world's busiest shipping channels.

So far, 82 of around 85 craft have made successful landings on the continent, with more confirmations expected once organisers can verify landing sites in France.

Steve Mabbutt, group marketing manager at Passionate About People, part of the Datum RPO group, said the organisers "couldn't have hoped for more".

"Everybody is absolutely delighted," he said.

"It's a large number of balloons on a beautiful day, it was incident-free and, to be honest, we couldn't have asked for more. It all went to clockwork.

"The pleasure it brings a lot of people is fantastic - it's a very unusual thing to see."

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