Bristol Kite Festival record attempt fails

An attempt to break the world record for the biggest kite ever flown has failed at a festival in Bristol.

The kite from Kuwait, in the shape of a manta ray, is larger than a full-size football pitch.

To break the record the kite had to fly for more than 20 minutes at the Bristol International Kite Festival.

But on its second attempt the body tore within seconds of it getting into the air. A third attempt is due to take place on Sunday.

The first attempt failed after a tear formed in the kite's tail. It was repaired in time for a second attempt but that too was unsuccessful.

Organisers said they would work overnight to repair the kite with an industrial-sized sewing machine.

When laid flat the kite has a wingspan of more than 55m (180ft), a body length of 40m (130ft) and an 80m (260ft) tail.

Anchor vehicles

The kite is owned by the Al Farsi family from Kuwait, who also own the current world record holder - a 3D kite in the design of the Kuwaiti flag, which set the record in 2005. It was flown at the Bristol festival a year earlier.

The manta ray kite has a lifting area of 1,200 sq m (12,916 sq ft), making it larger than the 1,019 sq m (10,968 sq ft) Kuwaiti flag kite.

Once inflated and airborne, the kite, which was made in New Zealand, requires two substantial anchor vehicles to tether it to the ground.

Prior to the attempts, festival organiser Avril Baker said she had been "very excited at the prospect of seeing the manta ray kite fly at Bristol".

"The sheer size of the kite and skill of the flying team really takes your breath away," she said.

The festival was first held in 1986 and Ms Baker said a world record would have been "an amazing 25th anniversary present".

Other highlights at the event include a "Festival of the Sea" with displays of giant swirling octopi, squids and flying fish, and a collection of kites in the shape of giant serpents with long flowing tails.

The festival, at Ashton Court Estate, runs throughout Saturday and Sunday.

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