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A jetpack inventor has suffered a horror crash after falling 50ft while giving a demonstration of his device.
Franky Zapata was giving a demo of his 'flyboard' over a lake in the French town of Biscarosse yesterday (28 May) when he suddenly lost control and fell.
Footage from the event was shared on social media.
The brief clip showed Zapata taking off impressively before flying out over the lake, with the board taking him higher and higher.
However, just a few seconds into the flight, the board appeared to lose power all of a sudden, and Zapata came hurtling down, crashing into the water below.
According to outlet Sud Ouest, the inventor is in hospital and is in a stable condition, with reports that he is recovering well.
Crash impressionnant de @frankyzapata aujourd’hui au meeting aérien de #biscarrosse Heureusement il est tombé dans l’eau et devrait s’en sortir je l’espère sans trop de soucis. #frankyzapata #biscarrosse #crash pic.twitter.com/SjWbGOp74W— Alex (@Alex170346741) May 28, 2022
Officials told reporters that Zapata, nicknamed 'the flying man', was showing 'good sensitivity and motor skills' while under observation in hospital.
In a post to his Twitter account, Zapata thanked his fans for their messages of support.
He wrote: "I am doing well. Today reminds us that we are not birds, and that if you don't do everything perfectly, gravity will always win."
He was due to perform several flights over the weekend, however, due to the accident, his appearances were cancelled, Biscarosse mayor Hélène Larrezet told local media.
The Frenchman designed the flyboard himself, which can reach incredible speeds of up to 87mph (140kmh).
Back in 2019, Zapata performed a flight during the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris.
The former jet ski champion was filmed holding a rifle and flying above the crowds, hinting at the potential military capabilities of the futuristic piece of kit.
During the show, he passed over the heads of some of Europe's leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and the German Chancellor at the time Angela Merkel.
Praising the demonstration, Mr Macron wrote on Twitter: "Fier de notre armée, moderne et innovante [proud of our army, modern and innovative]."
To which Zapata replied: "Merci Monsieur Le Président c'est un honneur [thank you Mr President, it's an honour]."
Speaking to national media, the French Armed Forces Minister at the time, Florence Parly, said the impressive tech could one day be used in combat, to create a flying unit.
She told France Inter radio the hoverboard 'can allow tests for different kinds of uses, for example as a flying logistical platform or, indeed, as an assault platform'.
Zapata was granted £1.26 million by France's Ministry of Defence to help develop the board.
Three weeks after the demonstration, Zapata completed a crossing of the English Channel, making the 22-mile (35.4km) in just 22 minutes.
Featured Image Credit: Twitter
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