It was seen from miles away slowly inching closer to the Conestoga grounds. Was it a bird? A plane? Nope. A hot air balloon.
On Nov. 2, a multi-colored hot air balloon floated across the sky and landed in the freshman football field of Conestoga High School. While students thought this was an epic senior prank, the three passengers, one being H.M. Steiger from New York, decided it was time to land the balloon.
“ We are allowed to land anywhere, where we find (safety). Helicopters and airplanes use airports and heliports, balloons are allowed to take off from any public land or private land with permission and we are allowed to land anywhere we can land.” Steiger said.
But this was all surprise to the Conestoga administration. They were only notified of a landing when the security team and various teachers with a window view saw the balloon coming close to the school and to the ground.
“I received a phone call from one of our security members and it was already landed and going down by the time I got out here.” Administrator Dr. Boyle said.
Students lined the windows and doorways facing the freshman football field in awe with their cameras out. While most were confused of this random occurrence, some believed it to be one of the most spectacular senior pranks. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Steigner and his men decided to land the balloon because their fuel was beginning to run low and the sports field was an open and public area to land.
“There is a fine line between emergency landing and making a good decision about making a safe place to land, where we can get the equipment back and where we don’t cause damage to person or property.” Steiger said.
They used the trees surrounding the field to land softly and safely. Soon after the landing a chase car came and picked up Steiger and the others and took them back to their home.