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When a Canadian weather balloon went rogue

Still Waters

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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

Twenty-five years later, Dale Sommerfeldt can laugh about the rogue weather balloon that resisted the firepower of air forces from three nations trying to bring it down.

But he admits at the time it was a headache for those involved.

In 1998, a technical malfunction meant the research balloon had failed to come down as planned, in two or three days' time. Instead, it began to drift across Canada towards the Atlantic Ocean.

The Canadian balloon was a different style from the Chinese balloon shot down over the weekend by the US, he added, noting that "those are intended to stay up for weeks or even a month at a time."

It was a massive thing - the size of a 25-storey building that would cover an area equivalent to five football pitches if deflated, according to a BBC report from the time.


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