Colombian officials politely asked people to refrain from flying balloons, possibly packed with explosives, near airports just before a bizarre collision at Bogota Airport. A Bianca Airlines A319 had just touched down on a flight from Orlando on New Year’s Eve when it became entangled with yards of streamers and plastic from what authorities described as a “pyrotechnics balloon.” The crew was able to roll out safely trailing the shiny streamers, some of which tangled in an engine and the gear. Launching fireworks from balloons is apparently a popular way to blow in the New Year in Colombia. It’s not clear if the balloon still had its payload of fireworks.
The country’s Civil Aeronautics Authority apparently saw the potential for trouble and issued a cautionary statement an hour before the incident. “Your contribution adds to the security in the country’s air operations. Remember that the use and launch of balloons near airports affects the safety of air operations and travelers,” the tweet said. The plane wasn’t damaged and the airline hasn’t commented other than to clarify that the collision happened after touchdown and not in flight as some early reports suggested. No one was hurt.