Hot air balloon forced to land in middle of Northampton street

Picture by Diane Haywood @dianahaywood71 NNL-140621-071152001
Picture by Diane Haywood @dianahaywood71 NNL-140621-071152001
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The pilot of a hot air balloon which came down in the middle of a street in Northampton has told of why he was forced to make the landing.

The balloon landed in Hilldrop Road, East Hunsbury on Friday evening, to the surprise of nearby residents and motorists.

Picture: Mark Plowman @MarkPlowman NNL-140621-071202001

Picture: Mark Plowman @MarkPlowman NNL-140621-071202001

Pilot Matt Rate last night confirmed that all the passengers in the balloon were “absolutely fine” and that a change in wind direction caused the problem.

Speaking via his Twitter feed @MattRate, Mr Rate said: “I wouldn’t have landed there if I didn’t think it was safe to do so. And I certainly wasn’t crashing.

“It can be a lot harder than it looks when the winds goes in the opposite direction to the forecast.”

Residents described seeing the balloon “hover” in the air before coming down.

“We stayed still for about five minutes and just couldn’t find any wind to get us moving. I had no choice, the wind dropped out completely over East Hunsbury.”

Mr Rate thanked local residents for helping to clear up after the landing and also thanked Northamptonshire Police for assisting with traffic.