A hot-air balloon was forced to make a sudden landing Sunday morning near the Sonoma County Airport SMART train station in Santa Rosa, coming down safely in the parking lot of the county’s Animal Services shelter.
The balloon, carrying a basket of about a dozen people, flew low just to the north of the train station at about 10:10 a.m., said witness Sherrill Dunning-Riley, a SMART station ambassador. Approximately 10 minutes later the balloon returned even lower, narrowly dodging the SMART Operations Center building on Airport Boulevard before touching down, she said.
None of the passengers appeared to be injured. The pilot avoided train wires and a barbed wire fence for what Dunning-Riley called “a gentle and slow landing” in the parking lot. They each exited the basket onto a shuttle, and the balloon was deflated before being loaded into a truck.
“No one seemed upset or anything,” said Dunning-Riley, who also took pictures of the close call. “It just looked like part of the adventure.”
You can reach Staff Writer Kevin Fixler at 707-521-5336 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @kfixler.