2020 was a dumpster fire of a year, and many people were glad to put it to bed early by going there themselves. Others, however, stayed up to watch the year take its last breath, though not everyone sang Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead in wise ways. One group of revelers in Colombia released a large balloon complete with streamers which, rather than stay aloft over their party, floated to a nearby airport where an airliner landing from Orlando, Florida collided with it.
The plane in question was an Airbus A320 belonging to Avianca, a Colombian airline and the second-oldest in the world. Flying Avianca's AV29 route from Orlando to Bogota, the capitol of Colombia, the Airbus collided with the balloon upon landing at El Dorado International Airport, approximately 10:09 pm local time on New Year's Eve according to Colombian aviation authorities, via The Aviation Herald. The balloon's streamers reportedly entangled both wings, engines, and stabilizers, though the Airbus's crew kept the craft under control, and according to View From the Wing did not declare an emergency. Images and video of the incident's aftermath have since circulated online, depicting the airliner bedight in what could pass for the remains of a flock of tropical birds.
Authorities reportedly suspect the balloon was launched from the nearby Parque La Florida, a park located 1.3 miles from the point of impact, which is regularly used for New Year's festivities. Release of such balloons, however, is not on the up-and-up according a quoted statement from Avianca.
"Avianca makes a call to the public to refrain from burning such balloons, which are prohibited by authorities," reads the statement shared by The Aviation Herald. "Passengers who had connections to other destinations were able to do so without any inconvenience."
Air traffic monitor Flight Radar 24 registers no flights since the New Year for the implicated aircraft, which has presumably been undergoing cleaning and maintenance since the collision. A return to the air, however, is scheduled this Friday, meaning unlike the colorlessness of 2020, the damage this balloon caused is safely in the past.
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