Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press
The Mason, Mich. man who is listed as the registered owner of the hot air balloon with the FAA could not be immediately reached Sunday. A man with the same name and hometown is listed as the pilot of the balloon, according to a list of the 2018 pilots on the balloonfest’s website.
About 40 customers were without power for several hours after the incident, but power has been restored, DTE Energy Spokesman Stephen Tait said.
According to WXYZ-TV, the incident occurred during the festival flyover just after 8 a.m., with the balloon landing in Thompson Lake.
Dave Park said that he was bass fishing when he looked up, saw the flyover and was taking some pictures, according to the WXYZ report.
There was fire and an explosion when the balloon hit the wires, WXYZ reported, adding that sparking wires were dangling and littering the shore with charred balloon pieces.
Park told the television station that the basket and balloon were on fire. He said he brought the pilot to rescue crews onshore, according to the WXYZ report.
The three-day festival began Friday and is to wrap up Sunday. The balloons launch in the evening, but a fly-in to the launch site was scheduled from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, according to the balloonfest website.
The festival appeared to continue Sunday based on photos and updates posted on the festival’s Twitter feed and Facebook page.
A photo on the balloonfest’s Facebook page Sunday morning showed a yellow hot air balloon with red, blue and green on it up in the sky with the post “#balloonfestmi Good morning, Howell!” A person who responded to the post stated that the balloon was the one that hit the power lines.