Balloons on the Albuquerque Worldwide Balloon Fiesta. destroyed
ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta got off to a rocky start on Saturday when someone walked across the field cutting up a handful of balloons while they were being inflated. It kept those balloons on the ground on the opening weekend.
Balloons soared into the sky, creating a colorful, picturesque view. However, with at least two balloons on the opening day of the fiesta, this did not happen as planned.
“Early Saturday morning when some of the balloons were being inflated, someone went through and just cut a few envelopes on two balloons,” said Tom Garrity, spokesman for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
Balloon Fiesta attendees said they knew about at least four balloons that were sliced on the opening weekend.
Garrity said the cuts on the two balloons were discovered on opening day during the pilot’s pre-takeoff security check. Pilots said they were informed of the vandalism of the two balloons on Sunday morning.
“Shock that someone just shows up and does that,” said Sean Eakin, a first pilot at Balloon Fiesta.
“I just can’t understand this way of thinking. Why would anyone want to do such a thing? What’s in it for them, ”said Bill Armstrong, a pilot who has been participating in the Balloon Fiesta for more than two decades.
Balloon Fiesta does not share details about how big the cuts were, what may have been used to make them, or which balloons were cut. Pilots are on alert.
“I always look around with what I do for a living. But I asked my crew to be a little more vigilant than they usually are, ”said Eakin.
Garrity said the two perforated balloons were repaired and ready for use on Monday. Pilots said it shows that nothing can keep them under control.
“It starts on a hard note. But it got better. They fixed the balloons, they’re back in the air. Everyone is up and having a really good time, ”said Eakin. “This will definitely not ruin the week, we will continue.”
The Balloon Fiesta public safety team is investigating the incident and Garrity said they are handling the matter in-house. It is not yet known whether there are any suspects.
Garrity also said they are “stepping up” security at Balloon Fiesta, although they haven’t specified how.