Google Balloon Crashes in SoCal Neighborhood

Google Loon Balloon iLighter - Flickr
Patagonia, AZ

What was initially thought to be a weather balloon was actually a giant Google balloon that crash-landed in southern California’s Chino Hills neighborhood Saturday morning.

No neighborhood residents were injured when the Google Loon project balloon landed in a palm tree next to a woman’s home. CBS San Francisco reported that rumors spread that the deflated 50-foot object was a weather balloon headed from Las Vegas, Nevada to Japan.



Residence owner Janet Olaffson remarked, “We ran out, and the police said don’t go near it.” According to CBS SF it was Sheriff’s deputies that first informed the woman that the balloon was sitting in her palm tree.

“We’re getting to the point where we can roll out thousands of balloons,” Project Loon Lead Mike Cassidy said in an informational video on the project. “The goal of Project Loon is to bring Internet to the almost two out of three people in the world who don’t have Internet access today and we’re doing that using high altitude balloons.”

Manufacturing and mission control systems have to be developed as part of the project, according to Cassidy.

“Now our balloons last almost a hundred days,” Cassidy said.

CBS San Francisco reported that according to Google the balloon that crashed Saturday was supposed to land nearby, not in Japan.

According to the Loon website:

Each balloon can provide connectivity to a ground area about 40 km in diameter using a wireless communications technology called LTE. To use LTE, Project Loon partners with telecommunications companies to share cellular spectrum so that people will be able to access the Internet everywhere directly from their phones and other LTE-enabled devices. Balloons relay wireless traffic from cell phones and other devices back to the global Internet using high-speed links.

The giant balloon created quite the stir, drawing people from all around to see the strange looking object.

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