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Hot-air balloons hit truck, power line at Albuquerque event

October 6, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Two hot-air balloons participating in the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta were involved in separate accidents Tuesday, with one landing on a truck and the other striking a power line.

No injuries were reported in the incidents that happened about a mile apart, police Officer Simon Drobik said.

One balloon landed on a parked semi near an intersection about 7 miles south of Balloon Fiesta Park, where hundreds of balloons launch every morning during the nine-day event.

“The gondola landed on the truck, and it scratched it up,” Drobik said.

Another balloon became tangled in power lines as it landed, temporarily knocking out electricity to some 2,600 customers. Drobik said a road was closed briefly while the balloon was cleared and an investigation was done.

The balloon fiesta, in its 44th year, attracts tens of thousands of spectators, along with hundreds of pilots and chase crews from around the world. This year, 550 balloons are participating, including more than 100 special shapes such as Darth Vader’s helmet and giant spotted cow.

Depending on the direction of the wind, it’s not uncommon for balloons in the fiesta to drift south into more crowded areas of the city. Pilots look for clear spots to land in store parking lots, along neighborhood side streets or even in backyards.


This story has been corrected to reflect that the truck was parked and not in an intersection, per new information from police.

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