Proving that what happens in Hong Kong does not stay in Hong Kong, a balloon ride there springing a hole, rapidly deflating and injuring five people after plunging to the ground also let the air out of the big orange Great Park balloon in Irvine.
Orange County's ride, which is currently the iconic centerpiece of the park-in-the-making, is operated by French company Aerophile. Following the events in Hong Kong, Aerophile decided to ground all its balloon rides until they can be thoroughly inspected. The Great Park's, which is tethered and takes up to 25 passengers 400 feet into the air, has been closed since Friday.
Heading into the Fourth, Great Park officials obviously want the ride up but say they are prepared to keep it closed pending an all-clear from Aerophile.