One of the balloons participating in the weekend Great Falls Hot Air Balloon Festival ended up landing at an Irving station in Lewiston.
What is the Great Falls Balloon Festival?
The festival is quite a sight to behold. Or so I heard. I had every intention of going there on the weekend, with my trusty camera in tow. But I just didn’t make it. Imagine a large number of brightly colored hot air balloons all taking off at 6:00 am, just after sunrise, 3 days in a row. What a sight that must be. I actually found this video on YouTube, posted by someone who goes by the name clockwork collapse, to give you an idea of what the launch looks like. Beautiful. By the way, you can also take rides in these balloons, which must be amazing.
Where did the wayward ball land?
You’ll notice that one of the balloons captured in this video was the Re/Max Insurance Balloon. It was a beautiful day to float through the air in a giant basket, but for the group riding in this particular balloon, it included an unexpected detour. Rich Burton of Lewiston noticed the balloon descending into town on Sunday morning and pulled out his phone to take a video.
Once the balloon approached the ground, Burton again videotaped it, landing at Lewiston Irving station. Did they come by to buy beer, fuel or make a pit stop? I mean, that would be one of my fears – we’d take off and I’d realize I had to pee. No public toilets in this basket.
Has anyone been hurt?
In the video, you can see the police arrive just as the ball approaches the ground. You can also see that there were quite a few people in the balloon basket. Burton said, in a commentary on his Facebook page, that no one was injured on landing. And the pilot showed skill, avoiding power lines and vehicles at the gas station. Hopefully they were able to provide the balloon pilot with what he needed to get going again or provide passengers with rides back to their vehicles.
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