A Japanese balloonist ditched his solo attempt to cross the Pacific Ocean early Saturday due to uncooperative winds and was bobbing in the high seas more than 1,500 miles off Japan, officials said.
But authorities said engine trouble in the plane dispatched to aid Fumio Niwa would likely stall his rescue until Sunday morning.Niwa lifted off early Wednesday from his hometown of Yokohama with the goal of becoming the first person to travel 5,000 miles across the ocean alone in a balloon. He had hoped to land in San Diego on Sunday.
Instead, officials at the Maritime Safety Agency said Niwa's helium gas-filled balloon landed in turbulent waters about 1,553 miles southeast of Japan at 11:16 a.m. (10:16 p.m. EST).
"Niwa landed safely and successfully separated his gondola from his balloon," said Niwa's spokesman Kenji Fukawa in Yokahama. "But he also said he was suffering from severe sea sickness."