Sunday, September 09, 2007

Hot air balloon hits Calgary powerline

Vancouver Sun


By Sarah Chapman

CALGARY - A hot air balloon ride took an unexpected turn when it collided with a power line on Saturday morning.

Eight passengers and the pilot escaped injury after a gust of wind blew the balloon into the lines near Seton Boulevard in southeast Calgary.

"It was a slow flight then all of a sudden there was a gust of wind," said pilot Dennis Myrthu.

"I think we're very fortunate. I was mostly concerned about the passengers."

Around 8:30 a.m., Myrthu began to land the balloon in a field near a gravel road, but once he neared the ground, the wind picked up and swung the balloon into the lines.

The brightly-coloured canopy became tangled in the lines.

"I've had incidents that I could have done without over the years, but I've never encountered a power line," said the pilot with 30 years' experience.

"But if you're going to hit a power line, this is probably the best case scenario."

CanWest News Service

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