Another of Google’s internet balloons has crashed, this time in South Africa


Another balloon from Google’s Project Loon fleet has come crashing to the ground. According to a report out of South Africa’s Karoo region, via Motherboard, a sheep farmer named Urbanus Botha came across the giant Internet balloon as it helplessly lay on the ground. Botha, who said he wanted to use the balloon as tarp for painting, actually had no clue what it was, and only figured it out after his daughter realized it belonged to Google.

A balloon belonging to Google X’s moon-shot Loon program crash landed today in South Africa’s Karoo region, where Urbanus Botha, a sheep farmer, came across it. According to local reports, Botha was about to use the downed balloon as a painting tarp before his 20 year-old daughter, Sarita, discovered it belonged to Google after—what else?—Googling it. The Loon program is dedicated to building a ring of balloons that will circle the earth in near-orbit, beaming WiFi into every corner of the world. It’s an ambitious undertaking and, as project founder Richard DuVaul said at the Smithsonian’s Future Is Here event in May, the biggest challenge the team has faced is controlling all the balloons. Since the Loon initiative kicked off last year, Google balloons have crashed in New Zealand— where the company had to compensate local police for sending out a rescue chopper—and Yakima, Washington. The crash in South Africa marks the third continent the 12-foot polyethylene balloons have unexpectedly found themselves on the ground.

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