Hard landings reported for several balloonists

Posted at: 10/10/2012 7:43 PM
Updated at: 10/10/2012 7:48 PM
By: Joseph Lynch, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It was the fourth straight day for morning lift-offs for the Balloon Fiesta. The problem Wednesday morning was not getting the balloons up, but getting them all back down safely.

The "She's a Lady" Special-Shaped Ladybug balloon's hard landing quickly drew a crowd. Some curious. Most wanted to lend some help.

Kelly Shoulders from Atlanta, Georgia saw the ladybug landing. "We saw them come down - they hit. Pulled it down and they just dragged, bounced and had a very hard landing. Unfortunately at the very end when they were about ready to stop, that balloon just wrapped around that light post."

PNM, the Albuquerque Fire Department and the balloon crew tried with a cherry picker and a ladder truck to get the ladybug of the light pole for nearly an hour.

They were not the only ones to have some trouble. Near Interstate 25 and Comanche, Emily McFerren rode out the tough landing.

"The landing wasn't really anything out of the ordinary," McFerren explained. "It was just that when the balloon started to deflate we didn't have crew here yet to help ground the balloon and so it started to tip."

Once the balloon finally stopped, the envelope ended up on a power line, creating some sparks until the power was shut off.

Several complicated and hard landings, but no one was hurt.

Mcferren cannot wait for the chance to do it again. ""I'll definitely go up again. it was an awesome experience, coolest thing ever being up there. It was really great."

Balloon pilots are only required to report to the Federal Aviation Administration if someone is injured, requires E.R. treatment or if the balloon system is damaged. If the FAA feels more investigation is needed, they then call in the National Transportation Safety Board.