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Hot air balloon makes emergency landing in Kensington

A hot air balloon made an unexpected landing Wednesday night at a Kensington playground.

The balloon landed on a baseball diamond at McKinley Playground near East Westmoreland and D streets.

Police said no injuries were reported.

Barbara Baur, 51, was driving home to Northeast Philadelphia from a class at Temple University when she saw the balloon drifting south toward her.

"Holy crap! There is a hot air balloon!" she told her brother on the phone as she was waiting at a red light at B and Ontario Streets.

"I realized it was coming down. It was really low," she said. "They were running the flame to gain some height."

As she watched the balloon, about a dozen police cars rushed passed her following the balloon.

She thought about following the balloon herself, but decided to go home.

"I hope they are okay," she said.

Police said witnesses began reporting just after 4:40 p.m. that the balloon appeared to be in trouble and was coming down.

Three men and one woman were on board.

That's what the balloon captain told police.

When asked for their destination, "they said they  really didn't have one," said Chief Inspector Scott Small.

"That doesn't make sense to me," Small said.

The captain told police they were performing a fuel consumption test and at one point had reached 17,000 feet when they encountered heavy winds, Small said.

At that height, the air temperature was 3 degrees, the captain told police.

The captain saw the ball field as a safe place to land, Small said.

City police were conducting their own preliminary investigation and had notified the Federal Aviation Administration, which also will be investigating the incident.