New Brunswick

Runaway beer blimp found in New Brunswick forest

A beer blimp that broke loose from its tether at promotion in Saint John on the weekend has been found deflated in a wooded area northeast of the city.

Brewery carried out grid search by air to look for its only Red Zeppelin

A beer blimp that broke loose from its tether at promotion in Saint John on the weekend has been found deflated in a wooded area northeast of the city.

The blimp broke loose Saturday afternoon. It was found Tuesday morning.

"It's in a wooded area in New Brunswick that doesn't look like it's going to be real easy to get to," said Wade Keller, director of corporate affairs (Atlantic) for Labatt Breweries.

Keller is not disclosing the location where the blimp was found.

"We know there is a lot of interest and a lot of curiosity," he said. "We haven't even talked to to the property owner yet.

"We don't want people going out to try and find it on their own, so at this point we're not going to release the exact location."

Keller said the company's next step is to contact the property owner and devise a plan to retrieve the blimp, which when inflated was two storeys high and 21 metres long..

"I've seen an aerial photo. It does look like it's going to be a challenge."

Keller said the deflated blimp was found after Labatt received a call from someone in the area who believed "they had seen it floating by and gave us the general area."

"We were conducting an air search in that area at the time and the person in the airplane was able to see it."

The blimp, named Red Zeppelin by the company, is designed to resemble a hockey goal light.

"It's the only one we have," said Keller.

Keller would not disclose the value of the blimp.

It was hovering about 30 metres over a Budweiser promotion on Hockey Street in Saint John on Saturday when the wind started to gust, and broke loose when the people handling it were lowering it on its tether, said Keller.

The loose beer blimp was expected to touch down somewhere near Sussex, N.B. (Submitted by Erin Bodechon/Twitter)

He said the company had not discussed a reward for finding the blimp.

"It's something we'd have to think about," he said before the blimp was found.

"The main thing for us is nothing was damaged. No one was injured."

Transport Canada's Civil Aviation Daily Occurrence Reporting System (CADOR) issued a Notice to Airmen alert for the Moncton airport and the Saint John flight service station on the weekend about the blimp.

The original alert was issued at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. It was updated at 4:20 p.m., stating the blimp had started venting helium and was expected to land within three or four hours near Sussex, said Ron Singer of Nav Canada, which runs Canada's civil air navigation service.

Keller said the manufacturer of the blimp, Mobile Airships Inc., of Brantford, Ont., said the air pressure at higher altitude would cause it to rupture. It would then slowly deflate and sink to the ground, with wind speed and direction determining where the deflated blimp would float before landing.

Mobile Airships Inc. referred all questions to Labatt, citing a confidentiality agreement with the company.


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