A hot air balloon has been forced to make an emergency landing in Melbourne after a sudden wind change threatened its ability to fly. The balloon was on an early morning journey from Burnley to Albert Park when a wind change put it off course just after 8 am on Tuesday.
“The pilot implemented emergency landing procedure and landed at St Kilda junction without further incident and no injuries,” Senior Constable Adam West told AAP.
Chief pilot at Global Ballooning Nick Brau was on board the flight when problems began.
“We flew three balloons this morning, and Darius, one of the pilots, could not make it because the winds got very, very light, which tends to happen on these warm days,” Mr Brau told 3AW.
“It was a safe landing in an unusual place,” he said.
“The winds were very light, so we couldn’t get to our original location and we had to land somewhere.
“The passengers loved the adventure — there was no danger at all because it was a very gentle and safe landing.”
He said the pilot and he off-loaded the passengers before taking off and landing about 15 minutes later in the St Kilda Botanical gardens.
“This is quite common for us,” Mr Brau said.
“It’s a very gentle experience, it’s fun and we are able to land in very small places.”
Josh Zayon, one witness to the perfect but surprising touchdown, spoke to Herald Sun.
“I was taking the dog for a walk and saw the balloon getting lower and lower, so I took out my phone like everyone else to snap the footage,” he said.
“Generally, you wouldn’t have thought a hot-air balloon could land in a garden. It was totally surprising.”