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Kelowna hot air passenger balloon lands abruptly for second time in one week

Kelowna hot air passenger balloon lands abruptly for second time in one week - image
Twitter/Nancy Garnett-Young

Residents near Mills Road and Keehn Road in Kelowna, B.C., woke up to a surprise Monday morning as a hot air balloon with six passengers on board landed next door in a store parking lot.

It is the second time in one week that Kelowna-based business Okanagan Ballooning has abruptly landed a hot air balloon in a populated area due to wind activity.

Owner John Klempner said Monday’s incident occurred around 8:30 a.m.

“Half an hour into the flight, the winds died off and changed direction a bit so we came down in a parking lot,” he said.

The parking lot belonged to the home decor store Bed Bath & Beyond at 1540 Keehn Rd.

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Hot air balloon lands on Kelowna street – Jul 31, 2018

“That’s just where the wind brought us,” Klempner said.

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The original plan was to land on a field near Benvoulin Drive.

Klempner said the six passengers on board were not frightened by the experience.

“They had a great time. It is just the way the balloons work. There is nothing actually fearful about it,” he said.

Kelowna hot air passenger balloon lands abruptly for second time in one week - image
Twitter/Nancy Garnett-Young

The hot air balloon industry is governed by Transport Canada regulations.

“Balloons are one of the rare aircraft that can’t control where they go so they fall under different guidelines,” he said.

“We are allowed to land as long as there is no danger to anything around us.”

Global Okanagan has reached out to Transport Canada for comment.

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Klempner said the business is in touch with flight services every morning and tests the wind conditions with helium balloons before a flight is approved for takeoff.

On July 31, the winds carried the same hot air balloon into Kelowna’s Dilworth Mountain Estates but the breeze quickly died, forcing the operator to land on a residential street.

No one was injured in either incident.

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