O.C.'s Great Park balloon grounded after Hong Kong crash

Orange County’s Great Park balloon has been grounded for inspection after a giant balloon in Hong Kong made by the same manufacturer sprang a leak and dropped from the sky last week, injuring five people.

Great Park officials shut down the ride for an immediate inspection Friday after learning about the Hong Kong incident, said Great Park spokesman Marcus Ginnaty. Crews didn’t discover any issues with the balloon, but Ginnaty said it will remain grounded until inspectors sent by the manufacturer — Paris-based Aerophile — arrive in Irvine to conduct their own investigation.

Ginnaty said Monday morning that the Aerophile team was en route, but he did not know how long the inspections would take or when the balloon ride would reopen.

“It’s very much a precautionary measure,” Ginnaty said. “It looks like the balloon is fully functional, but we’re working closely with the manufacturer to take every precaution.”

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This story was reported by Times Staff Writer Kate Mather.

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