November 24, 2005

Spectators hurt by Thanksgiving parade balloon

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two spectators, an 11-year-old girl
and a 26-year old woman, were injured on Thursday when a
balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade hit a lamp post in
Times Square, police spokesman Sgt. Steven Rodriguez said.

"The 11-year-old girl was hit in the head and the woman
suffered injuries to her shoulder" when portions of the light
fixture were knocked loose, he said.

Both were taken to Bellevue Hospital and are listed in
stable condition. Their names have not been released, he said.

The 11:25 a.m. incident took place between West 43rd Street
and West 44th Street on Seventh Avenue as the parade made its
way to Herald Square, where the department store is located.

The spokesman said that when the balloon hit the lamp post,
a piece of the post fell off.

It was not known whether wind was a factor in the accident.
"It is still under investigation," Rodriguez said.

In 1997, high winds caused a Cat in the Hat balloon to
knock a lamppost to the ground. In that incident, Kathleen
Caronna, a New York City resident, suffered a skull fracture
from falling debris and was in a coma for nearly a month.

She is still recovering and says the accident caused
permanent brain damage. She has filed a $395 million lawsuit
against the city, Macy's and the lamppost manufacturer.