4 hot air balloons make treacherous landings

At least four hot air balloons made treacherous landings in Canton on Saturday as part of the annual Pro Football Hal...

Posted: Jul 30, 2018 11:04 PM
Updated: Jul 30, 2018 11:04 PM

At least four hot air balloons made treacherous landings in Canton on Saturday as part of the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame's Balloon Classic.

One of the balloons became entangled in power lines, sending sparks onto the street below and causing the balloon to catch on fire. The pilot suffered minor injuries but refused medical treatment.

According to the Canton Fire Department, a balloon caught fire after crashing into a high tension power line and a street light on Marion Avenue Southwest and 4th Street around 8:45 p.m. Authorities said the balloon was occupied by a single male pilot. The Canton Fire Prevention Bureau is investigating the cause of the crash.

Diane Fete capture on camera the moments after the impact.

"It just sounded like a cannon. It blew up… and it broke in half," Fete said. "There was fire in the balloon and fire in the basket."

Fete said she and her husband were eating at a restaurant downtown when she noticed a number of the balloons appearing to be very close to the ground, potentially preparing to land. Fete said it appeared the pilot overshot his landing at a nearby high school sports practice field.

"I always thought these guys know what they are doing but you never know what can happen," Fete said. "I just couldn't believe it. You just can't believe when you see something like that."

Collyn Floyd with the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce said they have not encountered an incident like this in the 33-year history of the Balloon Classic.

The event has been a staple in the community for years. It began on Friday and runs until Sunday.

According to the Canton fire chief, it is unusual for hot air balloons to hit power lines. He said balloons land in various locations, typically in fields.

Another balloon, a large dragon giving a thumbs-up sign, also made a jaw-dropping landing near Tuscarawas Street East and Belden Aveune Southeast.

Tim Moriarty said he and his wife were enjoying coffee at a downtown shop when he too noticed the balloons precariously close to the ground. He and his wife traveled three blocks east where a large crowd of people had started to gather.

The balloon pilot somehow managed to avoid scraping a treelike and rows of power lines before landing in a small strip of land near a dollar store.

"At one point I thought if he doesn't make that and he comes out in the street and the thing comes down, what if it covered my car or something?" Moriarty said. "They'd still be looking for me, maybe. I must say the pilot had exemplary skills to get that down."

The fire department was not dispatched to the scene. No injuries were reported.

Two other balloons landed in densely-populated areas around the city. One of the landings happened in a family's sideyard with the deflated balloon cocooning the roof and chimney.

According to a spokesperson for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival, only the incident involving the injured pilot was of concern. The spokesperson also said the balloons' flight is based on wind direction and the pilots' abilities to find a safe place to land. Pilots are briefed on wind speed and direction before each flight, which dictates where they will take off and land.

Floyd said said pilots are permitted to land the balloons anywhere with land owner permission, and the decision on where to land is solely made by the pilot-in-command.

"Their ground-based crew makes every effort to secure permission in advance of any take-off or landing," Floyd said.

Floyd said they track all pilot launch, flight and path landings with electronic GPS loggers. Floyd also said the festival does not plan to change its policies following this latest incident.

"We have a team of very experienced safety officials including a safety officer, weather officer, and flight operations director. They have a total of more than 100 combined years of experience in managing events of this nature," Floyd said.

Moriarty didn't attend the balloon classic this year. Instead, it came to him.

"This doesn't really mar [the balloon classic]," Moriarty said. "It makes you remember what happened but we're just glad everybody got out okay."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 601937

Reported Deaths: 9593
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion831111322
Lake44972678
Allen32498545
Hamilton29039315
St. Joseph27133380
Elkhart24291343
Vanderburgh19160246
Tippecanoe17799130
Johnson14871292
Porter14631167
Hendricks14188247
Madison10851219
Vigo10636178
Clark10520137
Monroe9299110
Delaware9055134
LaPorte8972160
Howard8134142
Kosciusko800382
Warrick665197
Hancock6575103
Bartholomew637999
Floyd6322109
Wayne6076161
Grant5937113
Dubois552578
Boone544967
Morgan530594
Henry503464
Marshall499884
Cass478663
Dearborn470745
Noble468357
Jackson420747
Shelby410781
Lawrence387478
Clinton370642
Gibson365559
DeKalb344264
Montgomery340754
Harrison340544
Knox333139
Miami317344
Steuben311545
Whitley301725
Wabash299747
Adams299035
Ripley296545
Putnam292049
Huntington288659
Jasper287634
White270340
Daviess266073
Jefferson257938
Fayette245148
Decatur244883
Greene238162
Posey236927
Wells233350
LaGrange226361
Scott221838
Clay220932
Randolph212148
Jennings195836
Sullivan190833
Spencer188019
Fountain182127
Washington182022
Starke174443
Jay166322
Owen162837
Fulton162330
Orange156333
Carroll155415
Rush153318
Perry151227
Vermillion147334
Franklin146933
Tipton130932
Parke13018
Pike115626
Blackford110522
Pulaski96137
Newton90521
Brown86833
Benton85910
Crawford7839
Martin72313
Warren6757
Switzerland6455
Union6227
Ohio4787
Unassigned0375

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 849704

Reported Deaths: 10518
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin100046706
Cuyahoga845231068
Hamilton63092447
Montgomery42660405
Summit34405754
Lucas31041611
Butler30546229
Stark25443429
Warren19436140
Lorain18767223
Mahoning17163337
Lake15882153
Clermont15697110
Delaware1422678
Licking13067137
Trumbull12680313
Fairfield1262180
Greene11915136
Medina11439167
Clark10802265
Wood10230158
Allen9774126
Portage9163107
Miami907373
Richland9035117
Marion7420113
Tuscarawas7280179
Columbiana7263124
Pickaway719550
Wayne6954169
Muskingum690741
Erie6090127
Hancock547590
Ross543487
Scioto533664
Geauga501155
Darke465591
Ashtabula449373
Lawrence447053
Union444928
Sandusky433062
Mercer432088
Huron423541
Seneca423465
Auglaize419662
Shelby419421
Jefferson415469
Belmont411240
Washington383340
Athens37379
Putnam372674
Madison349929
Knox347922
Ashland342538
Fulton335243
Defiance327782
Crawford319472
Preble318437
Brown307121
Logan304132
Ottawa289243
Clinton286643
Williams275866
Highland271818
Jackson261345
Guernsey249825
Champaign249328
Fayette234429
Morrow23014
Perry228318
Holmes222864
Henry216849
Hardin210133
Coshocton203521
Van Wert200545
Gallia194726
Wyandot193851
Pike172417
Adams172015
Hocking169824
Carroll153216
Paulding143221
Noble119940
Meigs106823
Monroe100331
Harrison87821
Morgan82229
Vinton68913
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 14°
Angola
Cloudy
23° wxIcon
Hi: 24° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 11°
Huntington
Cloudy
24° wxIcon
Hi: 26° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 16°
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 14°
Lima
Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 29° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 16°
More Sunshine Saturday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events