An Advertising Balloon Gets Loose

On May 6, 1978, an advertising balloon became detached from the ground at a motor vehicle dealership in Hobbs. A doctor and an employee of the dealership noticed that it was coming untethered and got in touch with Lea County pilot Zip Franklin who first flew after the loose balloon and finally brought it down after shooting it with a .22 and finally with a shotgun. It came down outside Levelland, Texas and when it did, the dealership employee who had been trailing it in his pickup became trapped in the fabric of the collapsed balloon. Franklin and the doctor administered aid until medical assistance arrived. The dealership employee had to be hospitalized but all three survived.

Franklin said that the balloon reached heights of 15,000 feet above sea level and estimated that at its peak, the balloon was as large as a house.

(Thanks to R.O.F. for telling us this story.)

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