Hot air balloon strikes power lines, no one hurt

Balloon strikes power lines A hot air balloon participating in the Macomb Balloon Rally struck a power line, knocking out power for almost 5 hours. It happened early Saturday morning around 8 a.m.

“This morning, right before takeoff, I was asked if I wanted to ride the balloon, and I had never been in one before, so I said, ‘why not?'” said Brian McIlhenry. “Then we took off, and just couldn’t achieve enough altitude to get over the power lines. Then we pulled the emergency cords to release all the hot air. The basket hit the pole, then all the air came out of the balloon and we actually slid down between the power lines and came to rest on one of the transformers on the side of the pole.”

The two people in the basket were not hurt and were not transported to area hospitals.

“It looked pretty scary. We didn’t see any sign of people still in the hot air balloon up there,” said a witness at the scene. “Apparently there was, and turned out alright.

Power was restored just after 11 a.m., but until then, area businesses suffered the consequences.

“I already mixed my dough for my day’s batch, and then the power went out, and I’ve been in there cutting it in the dark. So hopefully, they’ll get it done here, so we can open up by 11, but that isn’t looking good,” said Paul Rashid, owner of Italian Express. “If the coolers are down for very long, we’ll lose all the food, so we could lose quite a bit.”