Pilot of runaway balloon describes dangerous ridePosted: Updated:
CAREFREE, Ariz. -- The pilot of the massive "SpyderPig" balloon that broke free from the ground and appeared to catch fire says he knew if he could get the balloon away from the crowds, he would be able to land it safely.
Dwayne "Wayne" Bond was in the basket of the balloon and inflating SpyderPig on Saturday evening when he says a heavy gust of wind broke the bolt that was holding the tether of the balloon to the ground.
"It sounded like a 30-30 being shot, it made such a loud noise," Bond says.
As the balloon started moving, Bond says his biggest concern was the safety of spectators at the event.
"I couldn't stand it because those kids were there, and the parents, I just could not hurt anyone," Bond said.
He says he fired the burners on the balloon quickly in order to get off the ground, giving the illusion the balloon was on fire.
"When you're on the ground and I'm burning those big burners, it looks like I'm probably setting the whole balloon on fire, and I'm really not, I'm just heating it up to make sure I clear all the [people]," Bond said.
Part of the balloon was burnt in the process.
Bond was able to land the balloon about a half mile from where the Carefree Cave Creek Balloon festival was taking place.
"I had an emergency, I knew I had to put the balloon down, so I did," he said.
The balloon tore and Bond's hands sustained bad cuts, but he considers himself lucky that neither he, nor any of the bystanders were injured.
The Federal Aviation Administration will conduct an investigation of the incident.
Bond's business partner, Bob Romaneschi, says he will be able to repair SpyderPig and expects the balloon to fly again soon.