CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. (June 17)—The Goodyear blimp Stars & Stripes crashed June 16 into a storage facility in Coral Springs during a thunderstorm, according to authorities.
No injuries were reported among the blimp´s two crew members or residents on the ground, said Mike Moser, spokesman for the Coral Springs Fire Department.
Nearby residents started calling the fire department at 6:41 p.m., saying the blimp was flying unusually low in the storm. Moser said fire crews went out to try to follow the blimp, and the craft later touched down at a storage facility. Minor damage was reported to the facility, but Moser said the blimp was half deflated.
"It looked like he had some difficulty trying to stay afloat," Moser added.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the accident.
Goodyear officials told the fire department that they plan to rebuild the craft and had planned to replace the skin soon anyway. Company officials began dismantling parts of the blimp the day after the crash, Moser said.
The crash was the third for Goodyear in six years. Among the tire maker´s three blimpsùbased in Akron, Pompano Beach, Fla., and Carson, Calif.ùeach one has now been involved in a crash. In October 1999, the "Spirit of Akron" crashed near its hangar in the Akron area, and the "Spirit of America" crashed into a plant nursery near its dock in Carson in December 2003.
The Akron blimp was later replaced by the "Spirit of Goodyear," and the California blimp was repaired.