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Ohio: Breakaway Blimp Lands in Woman's Backyard

A breakaway blimp from an Ohio airport drifted to the sky and landed in the backyard of a 94-year-old woman from Worthington.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/15/2011, 8:25 PM

A 94-year-old resident of Ohio woke up on Sunday to discover that a breakaway blimp from a nearby airport had landed in her backyard.

Lillian Bernhagen told The Associated Press that she heard a bang during stormy weather but did not realize what happened until police knocked on her door about seven hours later.

According to the report, the 128-foot-long blimp broke free of its moorings at a Columbus airport as a result of strong winds early Sunday, and then drifted to the sky, headed eastward and landed in Bernhagen’s backyard in Worthington.

No one was aboard and no injuries were reported.

“I looked out the window and I said, ‘Wow!’” Bernhagen told AP. She saw that the remnants of the battered blimp were draped over her picnic table and birdfeeders, covering half her backyard.

As crews dismantled and inspected the blimp, Bernhagen snapped some photos of it to share with relatives.

She told AP it appeared the blimp, which was removed by mid-afternoon, had toppled a small tree and slightly bent a corner awning along her roof, but thankfully didn’t do any major damage to her home.

“I didn't expect to see one on the ground,” she said. “I’ve only ever seen one in the air.”

AP reported that the blimp advertises Hangar 1 Vodka and is on a tour of about 20 cities under the direction of an Orlando, Florida-based airship advertiser called The Lightship Group (TLG.

“TLG will investigate what happened, but at this time there’s nothing to indicate that it was anything more than a freak thunderstorm,” TLG spokesman Toby Page told the news agency, noting he had no concerns about how the blimp was tethered at the airport.