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Hot air balloons set off across English Channel in world record attempt

The hot air balloons above the English Channel on Friday morning. Credit: PA

A fleet of hot air balloons has set off across the English Channel in a bit to set a new world record for the largest group crossing of hot air balloons between England and France.

The skies above Dover were filled with around 100 colourful balloons shortly after 6.10am, when the fleet began its journey across one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

The mission was masterminded by Exclusive Ballooning, a hot air balloon marketing group, which set the previous record of 49 balloons in 2011, along with members of recruitment firm Datum RPO.

Operations director Andrew Holly said the chance to break the world record for a second time was just "too tempting" an opportunity to miss.

He said: "I'm always asked about my favourite flights having flown for 20 years all over the world.

"Without doubt, the Channel crossing flight in 2011 is my number one and the opportunity to repeat this was just too tempting.

"We're delighted to be able to share this experience with so many other friends and balloonists and also give the opportunity to those new younger pilots who were not eligible to take part in 2012."

The latest attempt to set a new world record for the largest group crossing of hot air balloons. Credit: PA
The skies were filled with around 100 colourful hot air balloons. Credit: PA
The hot air balloons set off shortly after 6am, crossing one of the world's busiest shipping lanes. Credit: PA

Speaking at the announcement of the latest expedition in December last year, Datum RPO group director James Strickland welcomed the news and said taking part in a previous flight in 2012 had been "truly amazing".

He said: "Having flown balloons all over the world, taking part in cross-Channel flight in 2012, I can honestly say there is nothing quite like it, it was truly amazing.

"Crossing one of the world's busiest shipping lanes in a hot air balloon is a unique and amazing experience, especially in an immersion suit.

"This event brings out the adventurer in me and I'm looking forward to this intrepid experience again."

The latest record attempt created a spectacular sight over the English Channel. Credit: PA
Friday's expedition (pictured) aimed to break the record set in 2011. Credit: PA