Published November 27, 2007 11:00 pm - A giant blue blimp-shaped balloon that appeared to be about 30 feet long with an advertisement for a Pennsylvania apartment complex scrolled across the side landed 350 miles away in Massachusetts. Balloon makes overnight flight before taking off againBy Katie Curley THE DAILY NEWS (NEWBURYPORT, Mass.) AMESBURY, Mass. —
Neighbors Denis Nadeau and Bill Morse had quite a surprise early Tuesday morning when they looked out their windows and into their backyards on Whitehall Road.
Stuck on Morse’s fence was a giant blue blimp-shaped balloon that appeared to be about 30 feet long with an advertisement for an apartment complex scrolled across the side. The complex wasn’t local — it was for The Lofts at Valley Forge outside of Philadelphia, about a six-hour, 350-mile drive from Amesbury.
“I looked out my window at about 5:45 this morning, and there it was,” Morse said.
Nadeau called the number on the blimp wondering where it came from and was put in touch with its owner in Valley Forge. She told Nadeau it was on the lawn on the complex Monday, but it must have come loose.
A powerful storm, the same one that contributed to the lowest-scoring NFL game in 60 years Monday night in Pittsburgh, had blown the blimp off its mooring, Nadeau said.
Less than 10 hours later, it had traveled and landed at the Morse home on the shores of Lake Gardner. Nadeau, the town’s building and zoning compliance officer, spent the early morning snapping pictures of the blimp.
“This doesn’t happen every day; it’s pretty strange,” Nadeau said.
When Nadeau spoke with the woman in Pennsylvania, they discussed deflating the balloon and sending it back, but no plans were made, he said. According to Web sites for companies who manufacture promotional blimps, the large ones can cost as much as $5,000.
Then as quickly as the big blue balloon appeared, it flew away again.
A gust of wind around 11 a.m. pulled the balloon from the fence and carried it high over the ocean in the direction of Salisbury Beach, Morse said.
“It landed for the morning, then it was gone,” Morse said. “It’s headed north.”
Though the balloon that visited Amesbury on Tuesday was a promotional advertising device, it resembled a weather balloon, which can reach an altitude of 90,000 feet and can travel hundreds of miles an hour.
The balloon that landed in Morse’s backyard was not immediately determined to have been picked up by Federal Aviation Administration radar, according to FAA spokesman Jim Peters. A person reached at Lawrence Airport said their radar has a five-mile radius.
“We don’t know what route it took or what altitude it was at — it could have been anywhere,” Peters said. “Any reason as to how or why it got to Amesbury would be speculative.”
Peters sent pictures and information about the balloon to the FAA Lexington office, where it will be investigated, he said.