Web Exclusive: Romney ad on a "blimp like" aircraft crash lands in Florida

(CNN/WPLG) - An advertisement for Mitt Romney didn't play well in Florida -- not after the aircraft, that looked like a blimp, crash-landed in a field. High winds forced the airship down.

"It was floating backwards," says Teri Balter, a witness.  "It looked like it was actually coming down."

When Mitt Romney hired a pilot to fly a thermal airship that looks a lot like a blimp across South Florida, the idea was to get publicity -- but not this kind.  "He came down tail first and then the gondola struck and then rolled to its side as it deflated," says Captain Dale Engle, Davie Police Department.

Police say this aircraft was in trouble because of high winds.  The pilot was aiming for a landing at Perry Airport, but he couldn't get that far.  "It may not be breezy here on the ground, obviously, but when you get up to 1,000-feet, which this thing does operate at, I think the wind currents are a lot different," says Captain Dale Engle, Davie Police Department. 

These residents were home at the time.  They were shocked by what they saw.  After all, it isn't every day you see something this large looming below the tree lines.

"It was strange.  I thought, 'Boy, Mitt Romney really wants us to vote for him,'" says Teri Balter, witness.

The pilot chose to crash-land in an open field south of Bamford Park in Davie.  "There's a flap which actually lets him deflate it so that it didn't blow across the field in the wind," says Captain Dale Engle, Davie Police Department. 

There were two people aboard.  No one was injured, but a message intended for thousands to see fell flat.  "Well, it's not good that it fell out of the sky like that," says Teri Balter, witness. 

This is not the first aviation emergency for the Romney campaign.  Last month, a plane flying Ann Romney and campaign staff had to make an emergency landing, when an electrical malfunction filled the plane with smoke.


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