Unknown and unexpected tragedy during 1986 Balloon Fest in Cleveland, Ohio

People have great ideas, which sometimes have bad endings

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Balloons ready to go up at Balloon Fest in Cleveland Ohio in 1986. Photo: Thom Sheridan

This is the case of Tom Holowach who created and prepared one of the most massive release of balloons into the sky during Cleveland, Ohio’s Balloon Fest on September 27, 1986.

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Millions of balloons released into the sky of Cleveland Ohio in 1986. Photo: Thom Sheridan

And this with the very best intentions: Kids in schools “sold” balloon sponsorships at 2 for a dollar that went to United Way. The goal was 2 million but they stopped at 1.4 + million.

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Unknown tragedy at Balloon Fest 1986 in Ohio. Photo: Thom Sheridan

And then, something inexpected occurred! And Balloon Fest ended tragically! A storm moved in and forced all of the balloons back over the city.

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Unexpected tragedy at 1986 Balloon Fest in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo: Thom Sheridan

Two fisherman whose boat had overturned were unable to be rescued because Coast Guard helicopters couldn’t find the vessel beneath the impenetrable mass of balloons.

 

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