The adventurer known as the 'jetman' has crashed into the sea on what was supposed to be a record setting journey.
Yves Rossy had hoped to become the first person to make an intercontinental flight with a jet pack by crossing the Straits of Gibraltar. The Swiss airline pilot and aviation inventor told a news conference: "It's going to be historic" before adding "no one has ever done this before."
Rossy launch his record attempt from the skies above Tangier in Morocco on Wednesday, jumping out of a light airplane from 6,500 feet above the ground. Once airborne he unleashed his wings and fired up his engines.
He was followed throughout the attempt by a team of paramedics in a helicopter, which was challenged to follow him via camera. For several minutes, the team lost sight of the adventurer, eventually locating him in the ocean about halfway through a flight that was expected to last 15 minutes.
"Winds were certainly difficult today," the organizers' Twitter Web feed said.
A rescuer dropped from the plane into the stormy seas and pulled Rossy to safety, though it was unclear what happened to the wing itself. Designed by Rossy, the wing is made of carbon fiber. With fuel it weighs around 132 pounds, and because of the dangers involved, he wears a flame retardant suit.
Stuart Sterzel, spokesman for sponsors Webtel.mobi, said the wing malfunctioned, possibly due to engine failure. Rossy was flown to a hospital in the southern city of Jerez for a precautionary checkup.When flying, Rossy looks like a comic book hero with the contraption propelling him at a speed of more than 180 mph. Rossey has made a number of successful record-breaking attempts in the past, last year flying from Calais to Dover crossing the English Channel.
"He's a courageous man," Sterzel told reporters on a beach outside this southern Spanish town, where Rossy was supposed to land. He said Rossy would probably attempt the crossing again in the new year.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.