Friday saw the suspension of all outbound flights from London's Gatwick Airport when a rogue hot air balloon ended up in the airport's air space a little before 9:00 am local time. All flights were grounded so that they would not accidentally hit the balloon. This left many passengers waiting in planes on the tarmac for nearly a half an hour, until the balloon had drifted out of harm's way. Orla Chennaoui, a Sky News correspondent, was on a grounded easyJet flight and tweeted that they sat on the plane for an hour before learning a hot air balloon, not fog, was the cause of the delay.
The balloon was spotted at 8:50 am on the edge of Gatwick airspace and because of the fog it could not be seen with the naked eye. Robin Shapland of the British School of Ballooning, said that the situation was most likely caused by the mistake of a private individual rather than a company. Shapland also said that with the pilot of the balloon must have had an emergency onboard to have brought him into Gatwick airspace considering a northeast wind was blowing.
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