It’s not every day you get to write a witness statement about a blimp incident, but that’s the kind of excitement you encounter when you get out and about at the Wimmera Machinery Field Days!
My 14-year-old daughter Yasinta had expertly talked her way into the passenger seat of my scooter for the first day of the event.
She quickly found there was never a dull moment, including being nearly blown away by gale force gusts at 9.20am, when the height of drama unfolded right before our eyes.
Scooting along main street back to our team at gate two, the strong wind blasted so hard and long that the large inflatable advertising blimp we had seen from a great distance on our drive in, was forced to fly lower and lower until its tether seemed horizontal.
We watched in horror as we headed straight towards the balloon which was being forced on a collision course with power lines by the blustery weather.
Stopped in our tracks by the frightening scene, we saw the metal cable tether clash with the field day’s main electricity conduit.
Then, incredibly, the wild wind gusts shoved the blimp back and forth until it was wrapped once completely around the three wires.
The force of the wind kept pushing against the blimp, driving the three power lines together.
As they touched, this caused a bright electrical explosion about half the size of the flying billboard out to its left.
I couldn’t believe that the inflatable was not engulfed in flames and flung down on the public in burning pieces.
Still intact, the blimp continued to strain against its tether under the influence of the wind.
I was terrified that the electrical wires would be slashed and thrown onto people below, including our beloved volunteers in the ticket booths on the ground.
I feared for everyone’s safety and the whole event’s existence.
As it was, suddenly, miraculously, and against all the odds, the blimp irrationally unwound itself, at which point the demented airship was frantically restrained.
There was a short power outage while experts fixed the frayed and singed lines, but all the while my favourite coffee van was running with a generator, so I didn’t miss a beat.