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Mysterious old-fashioned balloon gets Oxford talking

27th July 2018 amy Hot Air Balloon Stories

Residents in Oxford were left speculating over the appearance of an unusual pair of flying vehicles on Wednesday night – a modern helicopter on the tail of an old-fashioned hot air balloon.

Some locals had joked that the airborne scene could have been a police pursuit or rescue attempt of somebody who had unwisely taken to the skies in an antiquated balloon.

Bit of excitement for our evening, a police helicopter either chasing away or helping move away an old style hot air balloon from #Didcot @JACKfmOxford @TheOxfordMail

— Chris Whitehead (@Osiris292) July 25, 2018

However, the Oxford Mail has come up with the more likely suggestion that the helicopter may have been filming a scene for a remake of ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’, especially since footage appears to show the balloon occupants wearing costumes and performing stunts.

A film version of the Jules Verne novel came out as recently as 2004, starring Steve Coogan and Jackie Chan, but the explanation seems logical, with some observers heading to Twitter suspecting a filming crew was involved.

Looks like they were filming something

— Michelle Bullock (@Chellefairy) July 25, 2018

This was happening over South Oxfordshire just now. No burner so probably a helium balloon. Also probably filming from the 🚁. Any clues, @NPASBenson @TheOxfordMail ?

— Heather Duffin (@RustyBearsMum) July 25, 2018

One onlooker said she could not see a burner in the rickety-looking balloon, suggesting it may have been powered by a gas such as hydrogen or helium.

The two inhabitants appear to be a smartly dressed man and woman in Victorian-style clothing, with the woman pictured climbing outside of the wicker basket.

Contrary to many people’s understanding and the conventions of several remakes, Verne’s protagonist Phileas Fogg never flew in a balloon in the original story. With a modern and extremely safe hot air balloon adventure in Bath, Bristol and other British towns, you can experience something even the great fictional navigator himself missed out on.

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