NEIGHBOURS have spoken of the dramatic moment a hot air balloon skimmed rooftops in Waterlooville.
Residents watched in shock as the balloon hovered inches away from the top of houses in Corbett Road and Marlborough Close at about 7pm last night before landing just feet from the busy A3 London Road.
Mum-of four Davina Hadfield, 33, was clearing out a garage with her former partner Andrew Best when they heard a mighty noise.
She said: ‘We heard this noise and thought “What the hell was that?”
‘We went outside and there was a hot air balloon inches away from my house.
‘It looked like it was trying to get up and get some more height. At one stage it was really, really close and I thought it was going to come down or land in the road.
‘It was quite scary.
‘But I thought they must have known what they were doing.’
Mrs Hadfield said the hot air balloon landed in a field off London Road.
She said she spotted three balloons on the horizon at about 6.15pm, but did not think anything of it.
Meanwhile, John Sinclair took pictures of one of the balloons going down in woods around Purbrook Heath and the one published here of the balloon landing within feet of the A3 London Road.
Another balloon is understood to have landed in a field on Portsdown Hill at the back of Woodfield Avenue.
One resident, who did not want to be named, said: ‘Just before the balloon landed on that bit of land a man was shouting out from the basket to people below saying “who owns that land?” and someone said the water company.
‘And then they landed there and the balloon deflated. Not sure where the other two went.
‘As they went over you could hear the roar every time they fired it up to put hot air in and you could see the fire.’
But Liz Meek, editor of ballooning magazine Aerostat, said it was not unusual for balloons to fly near homes.
She said: ‘It’s not necessarily a drama if they are near the top of houses.
‘You have got very good ability to regulate your height – it’s just you don’t have control over speed and direction.
‘Balloons do occasionally land in back gardens when you have run out of other options.
‘It’s been very nice weather for ballooning. It may have been the weather or sea breeze took them in the wrong direction.
‘It’s quite normal to come down with the burners on to slow down your descent.’