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Hot-air balloons cross Channel in colorful record attempt

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Some of the 100 balloons taking part in a World Record attempt for a mass hot air balloon crossing of the English Channel prepare for take off near Dover, England on April 7. (AP)

Never mind Brexit — the British are heading to France, by balloon. Dozens of brightly colored hot-air balloons soared over the White Cliffs of Dover Friday in an attempt at the largest mass balloon crossing of the English Channel. The flotilla of about 100 balloons took off just after dawn into uncharacteristically blue skies, heading for Calais. Guinness World Records says the previous record for a crossing is 49 balloons, set in 2011.

Friday’s event was organized by recruitment firm Datum RPO and marketing group Exclusive Ballooning. The first balloon crossing of the Channel was made by Frenchman Jean- Pierre Francois Blanchard and American doctor John Jeffries in 1785.

“The weather was perfect. We needed to have a strong and consistent wind coming over London and going right into the continent so when the balloons go up they are guaranteed to go in the right direction and not along the French coastline,” said Steve Mabbutt, one of the organiser said, adding the flight had been cancelled many times before. (Agencies)