Combination Balloon/Barbecue Festival Gets Mixed Reviews

LEWISTON, Maine — A sudden ball of fire erupted above a balloon’s basket as it neared liftoff at the Great Falls Balloon Festival on Saturday night, injuring four passengers and pilot Andre Boucher. Two of the passengers were transported to Central Maine Medical Center and two were taken to Maine Medical Center, Joshua Shea, the festival’s spokesman, said. One other person was treated by emergency personnel at Payne/Simard Memorial Police Park in Lewiston, where at least 5,000 people had gathered to watch the evening launch. Pilot Boucher was seen staggering through the crowd with blood on his face and a burned right arm. He was treated for second-degree burns to his face, head, neck and arms, Shea said. Police did not release the names of the passengers. (read more at the Bangor Daily News)