Huntley fire officials received a call around 7:15 a.m. about an unconscious 80-year-old woman. When emergency responders got to the area of Haligus and Ackman roads in Lake in the Hills, they learned the woman was having a medical emergency in a hot air balloon and that location was where the pilot expected to land.
By the time the balloon landed, the woman had regained consciousness.
Neighborhood residents said it's not unusual to see hot air balloons in the skies above the northwest suburbs, but it is surprising when one lands in your backyard. One homeowner caught the whole incident on surveillance footage.
"We looked out our window, and here comes the hot air balloon right between the homes here. And then they were waving at us and we were waving, like, this is awfully close," one woman said.
Officials have since learned the balloon took off with six passengers. It was in the air about an hour when one of the passengers became lightheaded.
"She was an elderly lady, in her 80s, bucket list! She wanted to fly and she just passed out," said Bob Perkins, crew chief with Nostalgia Ballooning.
Perkins is chief of the ground crew that tracks the balloon when it flies. Pilot Chad Morin reached out when the issue arose.
"We have a two-way radio, and we have a certain kind of language not to alarm anyone, called precautionary landing," Morin said. "I think she (the woman) felt a little embarrassed, although she had nothing to be embarrassed about."
He landed the balloon in the neighborhood, and Huntley fire crews were on the scene in seconds.
"The pilot did an fantastic job of landing it. Basically threaded the needle right between two houses on a residential street," said Greg Pollnow with Huntley fire.
Morin pilots balloon flights twice a day from a glider club in Hampshire. He says his extensive training prepared him for situations like this and thanks emergency responders and residents for their help.