Panic gripped gullible residents of a village in South Goa when a hot air balloon–which is part of the state government’s tourism initiative–landed in their locality this morning.
The incident took place 9.30 AM in Raia village located on Margao-Ponda highway, 35 km from here.
Fear-stricken villagers raised an alarm on seeing the hot air balloon and even called the local police.
“We all panicked as we saw the huge balloon with people coming down. We ran for shelter but it landed safely,” said an eyewitness from Raia village.
The exact number of tourists which were on board the hot air balloon could not be known.
This is the second such incident within a week, the last one being at Panchwadi in Shiroda village where a balloon with six tourists including two foreigners had landed near a house, 60 km from here, prompting State Tourism Minister Manohar Asgaonkar to order an inquiry into the landing which created panic.
According to Tiger Balloon Safari, the company which manages the Hot Air Balloon operation as a part of Goa Tourism Development Corporation‘s initiative, the landing was normal and there was nothing to panic.
“It was not an emergency landing. It was normal. People were panicked because they have not seen such a thing. It is usual for a Balloon safari to find an open space and land there. It is a part of normal operation,” Mukesh Yadav, Advisor, Tiger Balloon Safari, said.
He said balloon safaris are uncommon in India and hence people are not aware of such landings.
“There is a balloon safari only in Jaipur and Goa. These kind of landings are part of normal procedure,” he said.
The company has been operating in the state since last two years in association with GTDC.