In hindsight, it may have been an enterprise doomed by circumstance: Oregon State University students lost control of a hot air balloon Wednesday morning, although they managed to land it safely in the Timberhill area.
Witness Tiffany Chona, who contributed the above photograph, said she happened to look up and see the balloon as it drifted down to land at Buttercup Drive sometime between 7 a.m. 7:30 a.m. It caught her attention.
"It's not something you see every day in the neighborhood," she said.
Chona immediately spoke to the people in the balloon to see if they were OK. She learned that they were OSU students who had launched the balloon at Martin Luther King Park (formerly known as Walnut Park), but soon realized that something was wrong.
After a brief descent to the north, they managed to get it landed before approaching the heavily wooded area just north of town.
"Luckily, they didn't hit anything in the neighborhood," she said. Once it was clear that nobody was hurt, Chona said the mood was lighter.
"We teased them, (saying), 'Next time you land a hot air balloon in the neighborhood, it better not be Duck colors.'"
No official report of the incident could be found, and Chona said she didn't know the identity of the quick-thinking, fortunate balloon pilots. Anyone with more information about the incident is invited to call city editor Theresa Novak at 758-9527 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.