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These 1.5 Million Balloons That Fell Like Bombs On Cleveland Will Leave You In Tears

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Sometimes even the best-planned events with good intentions can go horribly wrong. Don’t believe us? Let’s go back to Cleveland, Ohio in 1986 and we’ll help you see how a simple task such as balloon launch can turn into a nightmare.

It was Saturday and a rainy day when 1.5 million balloons as part of a publicity stunt for the United Way were launched into the sky in order to kick off the charity drive while also making a world record. The launch was spectacular, however, one aspect was overlooked; what goes up must come down too.

The event ended as a disaster with the balloons killing two persons and causing damages to others.

Here’s how it looked when the balloons started to fall down

One could barely see the sky as 1.5 million balloons filled the sky.


Winds soon started to spread the balloons throughout the city, littering parks and public areas.

The balloons were carried to the Burke Lakefront Airport where the major runway had to be closed and flights were delayed. In Medina County, a local pasture also experienced hundreds of balloons that eventually spooked the horse whose owner was so angry that he even sued the United Way.

If all this was not enough, the balloons also covered the Lake Erie right at the moment when the Coast Guard had arrived at the scene to look for two missing boaters who were found drowned later.

Coast guard helicopter pilots could not differentiate between balloons and the heads of distressed boaters.

The event has never been spoken of and serves as a perfect example that any task requires proper thinking and planning instead of executing it and then wondering what to do next.