Balloon pilot grounded for dipping into tainted Colorado Springs lake

Hot air balloon floating over lake (Photo: iStock)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A Colorado Springs balloon festival has grounded a pilot for briefly touching down in a lake that was off-limits because of a harmful algae.

The Gazette reports the pilot dipped his balloon’s basket into Prospect Lake on Sunday before quickly lifting off again, a maneuver called a “splash and dash.”

All pilots in the festival were told not to touch down in the lake because of the presence of blue-green algae, which can be fatal to dogs and make humans sick.

The city has banned anyone from wading, swimming, boating and paddle boarding in the lake.

Scott Appelman, director of the Labor Day Liftoff festival, says he disqualified the pilot from flying in the event on Monday.

Appelman said he witnessed the incident. He declined to identify the pilot.

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