Hot Air Balloon Makes Surprise Landing in Backyard in Methuen, Massachusetts

Some Massachusetts residents received a surprising and friendly-looking visitor Tuesday.

A normally quiet Methuen neighborhood awoke to a hot air balloon decorated with a gigantic happy face, which came smiling down onto Haymeadow Road at 6:30 a.m. The balloon skimmed several trees before it landed.

"I came to the front door, and voila, this huge happy-face balloon was out there," Armen Derderian said.

"I'm like, 'Are you guys OK?'" Sarah Benoit recalled asking. "And they're like, 'Yeah, we're just here for some coffee!'"

The owner of New Hampshire-based High 5 Ballooning and six passengers had landed in the street in front of Benoit's Haymeadow Road home -- the smiley face balloon brushing up against her trees.

"It's a typical thing for us to land in neighborhoods because we're flying in one of the most wooded states in the country, so New Hampshire being 84 percent woods, we have to land where they took the trees down, and that's where they built houses,” said pilot Tony Sica.

Sica says he knows the area well and tries to land in neighborhoods like Benoit's, where the wires are underground.

"You're always going downwind, so the wind's in total control," said Sica.

Benoit's three children were thrilled the wind brought the balloon to their front yard.

"It was bigger than a tree," 2-year-old Harper Benoit said.

"It was even, like, bigger than a building," added Myles Benoit, who turns 5 on Wednesday.

"Me and Myles, we just wanted to ride it," 6-year-old Quinn Benoit said. "It was so cool."

They couldn't go for a ride, but they did get to see the hot air balloon up close.

"We, like, got to stand in the basket, and we got to, like, see like the actual inside of the like balloon," Quinn said.

Sica gave their mom a bottle of champagne and a certificate for a chance to win a free hot air balloon ride.

"It was definitely something we will not forget," Sarah Benoit said.

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