Hot-air balloon hits power lines, knocks out electricity in Lisbon

September 16, 1992|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Staff Writer

A 50-year-old balloonist crashed into residential power lines in Lisbon Sunday night, disrupting electrical power to 300 residents for about two hours.

The balloonist, Ronald Broderick, of the 12400 block of Banard Way in West Friendship, was uninjured during the solo flight.

But about 300 Potomac Edison Power customers lost power for two hours, said Kenneth Powell, a Potomac Edison spokesman.

The power outage began about 7 p.m. Sunday when Mr. Broderick's balloon struck the power lines as he attempted to land.

He was traveling westward to make the landing in a field. However, sunlight limited his vision and he hit the power lines.

"I didn't see the lines at all," he said.

"I hit into some high power lines. It really wasn't a crash landing," Mr. Broderick said, adding he's fortunate he wasn't hurt.

The balloon struck the power lines about 30 feet above the ground, said Chief Donald R. Howell, a spokesman for the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services.

A brief shower of sparks started before the balloon eventually landed in a front yard in the 16400 block of Old Frederick Road, Chief Howell said. Four fire units from Lisbon and one from Mount Airy were called to the scene.

Mr. Broderick said the ballon sustained only minor damage.

There was "great potential for a disaster," Chief Howell said. "It narrowly missed severing the [balloon's] propane line."

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