Friday, April 30, 2010

Space Balloon Launch Disaster - Lives in Danger

The launch of a giant space balloon went terribly wrong Thursday in the Australian Outback when a heavy payload of scientific equipment broke from its mooring and dragged across the desert, slamming into a vehicle and narrowly missing bystanders.

One witness said she felt lucky to be alive after the car-sized, unmanned gondola hanging beneath the balloon careened out-of-control into the vehicle parked next to hers at the launch site near Alice Springs, in central Australia.

As the huge balloon filled with air, the bundle of equipment was ripped from its mounting and dragged across the desert, crashing into and upturning a parked four-wheel-drive vehicle and strewing debris across a wide area before coming to a halt.

No one was injured in the incident, which was captured on video by an Australian Broadcasting Corp. television film crew.

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