After a very short flight, a hot air balloon clipped treetops and crash landed in crowded Warwick Town Park the afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 26. A fleeing bystander got a picture, but no one seems to have ascertained the identity of the mysterious, cursing balloon operator before he rolled up his balloon and walked off. The Warwick Town Police have no record of it.
Tom Farkas of Hewitt was playing disc golf in the park when the massive balloon came in very low and crashed into the trees right above the silver basket, he wrote on a message board. Several holes ripped in the sides of the balloon and the operator was screaming curses. They flew the balloon out of the trees and back into the air, but with the newly torn holes in it, it came down fast and hard. We literally ran off of the tee and into the road as the balloon crashed. I did manage to get a picture before I had to run.
Another golfer described the sound of the balloon as it came down as like a hundred leafblowers.
The balloon isnt from any commercial operation in the area, said Chris Healy, of Above the Clouds in Middletown, after seeing the pictures. Healy has flown 80 flights a season for a decade without incident, but the great thing about ballooning is that something like this can happen, and you can still fly. You certainly want to land shortly thereafter. To fly a balloon, you have to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration and follow certain regulations – like maintaining a certain altitude.