Qatar Airways jet swerves hot air balloon on descent in Brazil

The incident took place as the aircraft was arriving into São Paulo airport

Aisha Rimi
Tuesday 05 July 2022 12:49 BST
<p>The release of unmanned balloons is illegal in Brazil  </p>

The release of unmanned balloons is illegal in Brazil

A Qatar Airways plane was forced to dodge a hot air balloon that had drifted into its flight path on its final approach into São Paulo, Brazil.

The plane, which had taken off from Doha and was preparing to touch down in Guarulhos Airport on 3 July, managed to avoid the unmanned balloon, landing safely on Sunday morning.

A photographer on the ground and passenger on the flight caught the incident on camera, showing how the Boeing 777-300 swerved the balloon, which appeared to be carrying an advertising banner.

The airline told Doha News that it “is aware of an event concerning one of its aircraft involving an unmanned balloon before landing in São Paulo on Sunday 3 July.”

They added: “The flight landed as normal and safety margins were maintained at all times. The captain filed a report following the flight which is now being investigated by the Brazilian authorities.”

Rafael Freitas, who was taking pictures of the aeroplane landing, told local news that “the Boeing 777 came in a little misaligned with the runway to avoid the ballloon. When it had passed the balloon, it turned to correct its alignment.”

A passenger on the flight who took a picture of the balloon passing very close by one of the aircraft’s wings also told local media that “the balloon caught the attention of those on board”.

Data from Flightradar24, a flight tracking website, shows the plane making a slight deviation to the right to avoid the balloon while heading into Guarulhos airport.

Such balloons are illegal in Brazil, but a source reportedly told Doha News that this particular balloon was being used as part of the local Festas Juninas festival – a month of traditional festivities that take place at the beginning of the Brazilian winter in June.

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