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Kelowna  

No trouble for hot air balloon

Residents in Black Mountain got a real close look at a hot air balloon when it landed near their popular golf course, although some residents got the wrong impression and called police.

The balloon, operated by Okanagan Ballooning, was safely brought down Tuesday morning around 9 a.m. in an undeveloped subdivision east of the Black Mountain golf course.

Owner Joy Klempner says there were no injures to anyone on board and no damage to the balloon during the planned descent.

“Our balloon was out flying this morning and we had a beautiful landing on Black Mountain,” she says with a laugh.

“It just happened to be in an area where people are not used to seeing the balloon, so they reported it as a crash into the trees.”

The Kelowna Fire Department and the RCMP responded to the landing, and even joked with the balloons' passengers, once they found out everything was alright.

Klempner says they don’t typically fly towards Black Mountain, but about 30 minutes into Tuesday’s flight, the winds changed and the balloon began drifting east.

“That’s fine. There’s lots of landing areas and lots of open spaces,” says Klempner, as she explains the direction of travel.

“But it’s not a traditional route that we normally take. We prefer to travel north or west if we’re up in the Rutland area.

“There were no issues as far as we were concerned. I do understand that the people around aren’t really that aware of the balloon, and that it can land in a spot that small, but it can.”

Depending on the direction of the wind, or lack of wind, their balloons will always land in the safest possible place. Klempner says they will even land on residential streets sometimes, providing there are no power lines. When the time comes, the balloon pilots will find the nearest landing spot before the winds change again.

Each balloon is also followed by a chase vehicle says Klempner. This is in case any problems arise, the authorities can immediately be called. The Kelowna airport would also be aware of any problems as balloons are regulated and each one carries an aircraft radio.

“So if (the pilot) was ever in distress, he would notify the airport and the crew would notify the authorities.”

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