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Hot air balloon hits power lines in Appleton

APPLETON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- In the morning of Sunday, December 3, a hot air balloon came in contact with power lines in Appleton. Riders in the basket of the balloon stayed put until We Energies arrived on the scene to de-energize the wires.

“This is probably the oddest I’ve seen because there were people involved,” said We-Energies employee Jeff Ortscheid who has pulled everything from trampolines to metal shed roofs from power lines.

When Ortscheid got the call he first de-energized the line, cutting power to four nearby customers so that the passengers could exit the balloon safely. Once the passengers were safe, the balloon itself was able to be removed from the power lines.

“It was heavy!” he said, noting that hot air balloons have lots of ropes and lines that make a downed balloon harder to maneuver. He waited for a co-worker to arrive at the scene before taking the balloon down.

According to We Energies, the passengers did the right thing by staying in the basket until help arrived.

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