UPDATE: Aerial Displays clarifies storm caused helium passenger balloon’s position on highway

Photo: Supplied.

Update, 12 October, 3.40pm

Following the report of an aerial balloon landing on the highway during the storm on Monday, Aerial Displays contacted the Fourways Review to clarify that ‘the incident was caused in its entirety by the uncharacteristically violent hailstorm which hit Johannesburg’ on 9 October.

Francis Chikasha of Aerial Displays said, “The incident caused extensive damage to the entire property [on which the balloon was situated] and we actually had to remove various resulting debris from the N1 aside from the balloon envelope.

“As is standard with aviation the matter was reported to the Civil Aviation Authority as the authorising body.”

It was stated in the incident report that the branded helium passenger balloon envelope was torn by violent winds and flying debris. “The balloon was positioned on the N1 North side of the Golf Place, Magaliessig. The wind speeds recorded in the vicinity exceeded 80km/hr (as confirmed by the SA Weather Service), caused the emission of the helium from the balloon envelope whilst it was secured to its mooring tethers.

“The loss of helium from the opening in the envelope made the balloon lose pressure/turgidity and was thus susceptible to the high wind during the storm, ultimately creating a sail effect with sufficient force to break the 32 mooring tethers in a sequence. In its fully inflated state, the balloon can withstand wind speeds of up to 80km/hr when as low moored as it was.

“The position of the net and tethers which caught on the adjacent billboard, indicate that the balloon envelope fully deflated whilst partially tethered and on tearing free of the final tethers rolled down the highway embankment in a deflated stated. This rolled envelope covered part of a lane of the N1 North.

“Within 30 minutes of the incident, the balloon was removed and rolled to the side of the road and removed completely from the roadside by 8pm on 9 October, 2017. The debris from other damaged property was also removed simultaneously.”

The incident report further stated that no persons were injured by the balloon directly and there were no traffic incidents besides a temporary delay in traffic.

“The balloon was not in operation at the time of the incident and did not have any passengers in it nor did it fall as it was moored when the incident occurred. It did not explode or disintegrate and the entire balloon envelope was recovered as one piece from which the tear was evident. The envelope was cut into smaller pieces to facilitate easier removal after the incident.”



Update, 9 October, 5.37pm

The Huawei balloon that landed on the N1 this afternoon (9 October) has been removed. Fourways Review is currently awaiting more information regarding the incident from the authorities.


Photo: Freda Boiles, Facebook.


Original report, 9 October, 4.33pm

The Huawei balloon near Rivonia has caused a stir after popping and landing on the N1 highway this afternoon.

Wayne Minnaar, the spokesperson for the Metro police, said, “We are sending out officers to investigate as we speak.”

Fourways Review is currently awaiting further information surrounding the incident. Details will be provided as they become available.



Photo: Supplied.


Photo: Supplied.

Did you see the balloon landing on the highway? Share your experience and pictures with us on our Facebook page.

Staff Reporter

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