In its 89 years, the parade has been hit by 16 balloon mishaps. Some would crash, while others were fine.
2) Alfred Hitchock and Columbo balloon
12 September 1947
The two cinematic character balloons were supposed to fly together at the New York holiday event in 1947, but when Columbo got wet mid-air Hitchock slipped over and temporarily lost his dress. It broke a collarbone for actor Elliott Gould who was standing nearby. No one was hurt. The colourful icons featured in the parade “remain a popular long-time attractions of the holiday extravaganza”.
3) Raggedy Ann, Cinderella, turkey and balloon
5 November 1952
When the Raggedy Ann, Cinderella, turkey and balloon parachuted into the New York City parade, many people thought they could not believe their eyes. The costumes and backup props were later retrieved and the appearance was later considered a success. All three balloons were printed with larger than life reindeer heads to fool people. Columbo was not so lucky and hurt his neck. There were many more subsequent failures.
4) Patsy the Opera Balloon
14 November 1952
After passing a fake runway above the streets of New York City, the “ancient” opera balloon caught its frame while landing on a New York subway track and sent one of its parts flying across the track. The conductor, Harold Smith, could not see where the balloon had fallen until a body from the restricted-view platform was found beneath the track. His body was identified as that of fellow conductor Eugene Maslof.
5) Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade parachute malfunction
20 November 1965
After fliers took off over the neighbourhood of The Bronx, the fleet malfunctioned. Before the initial crash, the troops started making an explosive charge with three balloons. When that failed the supplies were cut and as a result the load broke. The most famous balloon among those that fell was Freedom, though only feet from falling. No one was hurt.
6) Spriggy and Santa Claus
2 March 1969
The most famous balloon in the parade was the cleaning dog Spriggy and after a balloon failed to detach from Santa Claus during the first full-blown event, it was fixed with chains. Of course, the next balloon also suffered the same fate.