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Blimp, weather balloon collide over northeast N.C.

Posted October 1, 2010

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— The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a Thursday night collision of a blimp and weather balloon  near Elizabeth City that injured one man, authorities said.

The collision occurred at about 9:15 p.m. at TCOM, a Weeksville-based firm that makes and maintains blimps for various firms, Pasquotank County Sheriff Randy Cartwright said.

High winds during a heavy rainstorm snapped the line that had tethered an unmanned blimp, and the craft slammed into a weather balloon, Cartwright said.

A crew member was on board doing routine checks and was not able to get the blimp under control.

The unidentified man, who is in his late 40s or early 50s, was taken to Albemarle Regional Hospital in Elizabeth City for treatment, but his condition was unknown Friday.

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  • cary Oct 1, 2010

    xg0tugoincraziex, you evidently are right, not many will care, but prayers and best wishes to your cousin for a speedy recovery. I can imagine how horrible and scary the incident must have been.

  • Bartmeister Oct 1, 2010

    They call these blimps but they are air ships, much smaller than the Goodyear blimp. But still way too large for any single person to have a chance at controlling on the ground.

  • gman007 Oct 1, 2010

    I'm still trying to figure out how 'one' person was trying to hold 'two' blimps in place.

  • MyNameIsMud Oct 1, 2010

    "That building is used for manufacturing aerostats ( Blimps). There is no room inside to store them so they are stored on the tarmac with tether systems. "

    The blimp business has a great future since it's a new way to move cargo (in favorable weather, of course) and potentially more efficient than typical airline cargo. And it can move unusual cargo to remote areas without runways or railways, so there is potential for business growth for NC.

  • paginasecunda Oct 1, 2010

    ""What are the odds of two blimps being up at the same time in the same area?"

    I'd say VERY high when it's at a location that houses blimps. Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrr"

    I'd say they are still really low, just as the chances of two airplanes colliding in the air at RDU are extremely low. This is a freak accident. I hope the individual is alright.

  • Common Sense Man Oct 1, 2010

    "What are the odds of two blimps being up at the same time in the same area?"

    I'd say VERY high when it's at a location that houses blimps. Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

  • xg0tugoincraziex Oct 1, 2010

    just an FYI, the Pilot is the one who is injured and it is very serious injuries. I know this because he is my cousin. Don't think many will care but just thought i would say it.

  • hotlapsmag Oct 1, 2010

    I've always said I hate it when two blimps collide!

  • ratherbnnc Oct 1, 2010

    TCOM is not just an open field. The facility was the old World War II Blimp Base that the Navy had for submarine warfare off the coast. One of the large hangars are still there. That building is used for manufacturing aerostats ( Blimps). There is no room inside to store them so they are stored on the tarmac with tether systems. Some of the aerostats are small used for military surveillance so its not surprising one would collide with another one. It appeared one of them was being moved because of the storm. The old base used to be a furniture manufacturer that went of out business. TCOM Bought it from them.

  • Internet Hate Machine Oct 1, 2010

    I presume they collided very slowly.

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