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Lack of wind strands balloon over St. Croix River

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news Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

AFTON, Minn. -- Things couldn’t have been more still or calm that Sunday evening above the St. Croix River in Afton – and that’s exactly what raised a commotion.

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Dead air in the St. Croix valley caused a hot air balloon loaded with 15 people  -- who also remained calm -- to stall directly over the river at 7:50 p.m. Aug. 11.

“The balloons are at the mercy of the wind, and, well, there was no wind,” said Jim Gribble, a sergeant with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

When deputies approached the scene with a boat, the balloon was about 5 feet above the water. Officers towed the balloon, owned by Stillwater Balloon, to St. Croix Beach, where all passengers got out safely. 

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