Hot air balloon rescue on West Lake Okoboji

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 2:30 PM CDT
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WEST OKOBOJI, Iowa (KUOO) - A close call Sunday evening for a hot air balloon that went down in Brown’s Bay of West Okoboji.

Leslie Whitehair lives in that area and she described the incident to our news partner KUOO Radio. She witnessed the incident and told KUOO news the balloonist got into trouble after the wind completely died.

“It seemed to be fine at first and then it got lower and lower and we figured that he couldn’t move only but up and down,” said Whitehair. “The wind was gone and he wasn’t going to go anywhere, so we figured out he was in trouble.”

Fortunately, Whitehair said a boater happened to be in that area.

“The gentleman in the balloon started calling the other boat over and kind of crying out help us please yells,” said Whitehair. “We could hear it all the way into the middle of the lake because there was no wind at all, and there was a boat that responded to him and came over and threw him a line and pulled him to shore.”

Whitehair said the balloon was towed to the Terrace Park area. She said she didn’t know who the boater was or the names of the two people who were in the balloon.

Leslie Whitehair gave us permission to share her video. You can view it by following this link.