A scenic hot air balloon flight took an unexpected stop during peak hour in Canberra this morning (15 July).
Motorists on Parkes Way faced delays after the Take Off hot air balloon made an emergency landing at about 8:30 am.
Pilot Craig Farrell said it had all started as an “absolutely perfect flight”.
“All indications before we took off were we’d have 10 to 20 knots (25 to 30 km) of wind at height, but that proved not to be true,” he said.
“The wind speed completely dropped out.”
Faced with a dilemma, the 37-year flying veteran searched for the safest place he could bring his vessel down.
“Given the choice, I would have preferred not to land on the road. I would have preferred to go further north or west over Black Mountain, but it was the safest option,” he said.
“Balloons can’t steer or accelerate, so we were presented with a limited range of options.”
Craig called ahead to his team on the ground and ACT Policing, with officers already on scene to control traffic when Craig made his touchdown.
“It was a bit of a tricky landing. I’d put it up there in terms of technical difficulty because it was a bit tight,” he said.
But luckily, everyone was back on the ground safe and sound.
“Some tradies stopped to give us a hand, so it only took two minutes to get clear of the road and into a safer area,” Craig said.
“It’s such a lovely spirit here in Canberra.”
But the balloon wasn’t the only event causing traffic headaches on the ACT’s roads this morning.
A two-vehicle collision at about 9 am on Johnston Drive and Ellerston Drive caused heavy delays, closing the eastbound lanes of Johnston Drive.
A trolley up a light pole on Erindale Drive had motorists wondering how on earth it had reached such heights.
Users of the Tuggeranong Parkway have been warned to expect delays next week, with lane closures in both directions from Monday, 18 July.
Bridge maintenance works would see closures between the Cotter Road and Hindmarsh Drive on and off ramps.
Only one lane would be open in both directions from 9:30 am to 4 pm daily from Monday 18 July to Friday 22 July.
The ACT Government said delays were expected and encouraged motorists to take another route if possible.
“If you are travelling on Tuggeranong Parkway, please be mindful of the reduced speed limits and changed traffic arrangements whilst these important works are carried out,” it said in a statement.