Daredevil floats 6 kilometers with helium balloons

A man tied himself to 200 multi-coloured helium-filled balloons and floated over shark-infested waters from the island where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years in prison over to Cape Town.

Silver-Vallance floats above the sea using helium filled balloons

South African Matt Silver-Vallance, 37, dressed in a wetsuit, carried out the stunt from Robben Island to the mainland to raise money for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

Mr Mandela, 94, was released from hospital hours after the challenge, following treatment for pneumonia.

Balloon landingIt took about an hour to make the 6 kilometer crossing above the Atlantic.

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Mr Silver-Vallance.

‘I was going up, and I got to about one thousand feet [above sea level], about the height of Table Mountain,’ he said.

‘Then I started coming down again, that’s when it got hairy.’

Mr Silver-Vallance needed to pop some balloons to descend, and had to spear 35 of them after the pellets he was firing didn’t do the job.

Rather than trying to land on a dangerous hard surface, he clambered down a rope into a sea rescue craft.

Mr Mandela spent the majority of his 27-year prison sentence at Robben Island after being taken there in 1964. It has now been turned into a museum.

The goal of the trip from Robben Island was to help raise money for the building of a children’s hospital in the city of Johannesburg that will carry the name of the 94-year-old former president and anti-apartheid leader.

‘The risks that I’m taking are tiny compared to the risks that he took,’ he said.

But he added: ‘Would I do it again? Probably not.’

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