Editor’s Note: The title of this story has been updated to more accurately reflect the balloon’s journey and landing.
The pilot’s sweatshirt roughly summed up the flight: “Keep calm…Go ballooning.”
Pilot Gary Brossett and co-pilot Dorinda Morpeth, both of Columbus, were forced to make an unscheduled landing in Columbus’s Lakebottom Park on Thursday after winds blew their hot air balloon, codenamed “Kalos,” off course.
“We took off just west of Crawford, Alabama, intending to go to a farm just outside Phenix City, halfway between Ladonia and Phenix City, but the winds didn’t not cooperated,” Brossett said.
Morpeth said they were on most of the flight, but shifting winds were pushing them away from different landing sites.
“We just kept going, targeting different areas until we crossed the river,” Morpeth said. “We knew our options were becoming fewer and fewer.”
Brossett said that was when Morpeth suggested Lakebottom Park as a landing spot. He said they had already launched from Lakebottom and he thought it was a good place.
“Our crew was waiting for us, dropped the drop line, and they held us in place and we went ahead and landed here,” Morpeth said, adding the landing was very safe and under control.
Brossett said their landing was quiet.
“There were quite a few walkers and joggers walking around the athletics field here and the soccer field and most of them just looked up, smiled, then started walking,” did he declare.
Brossett said their approach and landing were uneventful, with no cause for concern.
“We’ve landed and taken off here at Lakebottom Park before,” Brossett said. “There is plenty of room for the ball. We just need a place that’s really 60 feet wide, like someone’s front yard.
This story was originally published January 13, 2022 3:16 p.m.