Deadly adventure Calgary balloon man, Dan Boria speaks out

Daniel Boria described the experience as the most relaxing yet frightening moment of his life

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For more than 20 minutes early Sunday evening, the entrepreneur floated high above downtown Calgary in a $20 green lawn chair kept aloft by 120 massive helium balloons he ordered online.

From his colourful flying balloon perch in the clouds, Boria could see planes land below him.

It was incredibly peaceful up there,” said the 26-year-old, who had a parachute strapped to his back, and a GPS and oxygen tank on the floating chair.

The stunt was months in the making and involved everything from skydiving lessons to researching wind direction and purchasing $12,000 in helium.

While it didn’t end exactly as planned, Boria said it was the “most fun thing” he’s ever done.

With the help of 20 of his employees, who filled the six-foot round balloons with the $12,000 of helium, Boria’s flying chair device took off from a Calgary park on Sunday evening.

There were cheers when the contraption quickly left the ground and began to float up higher and higher.

Police said witnesses first spotted the floating chair in the northwest community of Highwood on Sunday evening and watched as it moved toward downtown.

“He got so high that he was at cloud level,” said Acting Insp. Kyle Grant.

Tom Warne saw Boria in the sky around 7:20 p.m. Sunday and snapped a photo from the north-central community of Thorncliffe, just east of Nose Hill Park.

The plan, said Boria, was to land the balloon chair on the Stampede grounds, at the chuckwagon races, in an attempt to raise awareness about his cleaning product company.

But wind conditions meant the landing didn’t go exactly as planned, and Boria instead jumped from the chair, opened a parachute attached to his back, and landed in a green space near Highfield Boulevard S.E., about a kilometre southeast of the Stampede grounds.

EMS spokesman Stuart Brideaux said Boria was assessed by paramedics around 8 p.m. “for some minor injuries sustained allegedly when he parachuted from his lawn chair” but declined further assistance.

Boria suffered an injured ankle and said he was going for X-rays on Monday evening.

After landing, Boria was met by police and placed in custody, where he spent the night.

“I basically went from the most free feeling you could ever imagine in your life to being locked up in a box,” Boria said.

Boria appeared before a justice of the peace Monday morning and was released on a no-deposit bail of $1,500.

A condition of his release is that he has to stay at least 300 metres from the Stampede grounds.

The case is adjourned for July 13.

Source: Calgary Herald

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