People living near 119 Avenue and 54 Street woke up to a colourful surprise Sunday: a hot-air balloon landed in the middle of their neighbourhood.
A bystander called the fire department when they noticed the balloon was descending pretty quickly shortly before 8 a.m.
Fire Rescue Services said when firefighters arrived on scene, everyone in the balloon was out and OK.
“I woke up to a funny sound of the air pressure and I thought to myself: ‘I think I’m dreaming about air balloons,'” neighbour Jeralee Konschuh said.
“I heard it a couple more times… then the doorbell rang and it was two firemen saying, ‘I’m not sure if you know what’s going on, but there’s a hot-air balloon in your backyard.’
“So we woke up and it was a pretty tight squeeze between some vehicles and a motor home, so we had to move the motor home really quickly and get things out of the way so they could deflate the balloon,” Konschuh said.
Eight firefighters stayed in the intersection for a while to help deflate the balloon.
“All the people that were in the basket seemed really comfortable and they weren’t scared,” Konschuh said. “It was kind of a neat experience.”
The Global 1 News Helicopter caught the event on camera Sunday morning.
The company that owns the balloon, Sundance Balloons, said the landing was “absolutely routine.”
“Someone on the ground called 911 just because they’re not used to seeing balloons there, but it was a normal flight, routine landing and everyone was happy,” spokesperson Jeff Chatterton said in an email to Global News.
He said since first responders were called out, they helped manage traffic and pack up the balloon and equipment, which was “nice, but certainly not necessary.”
Chatterton explained hot-air balloons don’t have set landing zones and adapt to where the wind takes them.
“When the pilot chose to land, this spot was a safe place, free of obstacles or power lines… So it made perfect sense to put the balloon down there.”
“He had some major skill, actually, to know that he was literally between the light base and the motor home,” Konschuh said. “It’s a pretty tight squeeze to [land] there.”
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