Teen’s hot air balloon went up, up and away

By Connie Osborne Thursday 17 April 2014 Updated: 18/04 08:16

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Buy photos » Charlie Timbrell’s model hot air balloon broke free from its tether. (s)

A REDDITCH teenager feared he had landed himself in trouble when his model hot air balloon broke loose over the town.

Charlie Timbrell said he panicked the balloon - which is a quarter of the size of a standard hot air balloon - would land on the highway or hurt someone when the tether used to hold it down snapped in his Webheath garden last Thursday (April 10).

Police received reports from residents in Batchley a hot air balloon was in distress over Pitcheroak Woods about 12pm and more than ten officers along with firefighters and a police helicopter rushed to the scene and searched the area without success.

But the 18-year-old, who has asperger’s syndrome and who has been obsessed with balloons since he was a young boy, rang the police to tell them it was a model after seeing the helicopter.

“When I called the police they told me I was not in any trouble and they were happy it just wasn’t a real one and told me stay in touch if I heard anything,” he said.

“I wasn’t worried about the balloon, I was more worried it could hurt someone, that’s all I cared about.”

He added he always used the same tether to ground the balloon but it was his ‘bad luck day’.

After searching for it for most of the day the teenager was called by police the same evening to say it had landed in someone’s garden and it has since been returned.

“They come down very quickly because they lose power so fast unlike the real ones, so I can see why people worried,” he said.

“It is a very safe sport and this has never happened before. I’m just glad no-one was hurt and it is back now.

“I’ve got a new tether just to make sure it is extra safe.”

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