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Coordinated landing.
WHAT GOES UP MUST COME DOWN

A Project Loon balloon crashes, and Alphabet calls it a successful test flight

By Alice Truong

One of Alphabet’s Project Loon balloons crash landed on a field in Chile Saturday morning.

Citing the local press, the Register reports the ballon—part of an experimental Google X project that aims to provide internet access to remote parts of the world—crashed in the province Biobio.

Chile’s civil aviation body, Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil, is currently investigating the crash, but Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is calling it a “coordinated landing” and successful test flight.

“The balloon that landed on Saturday, April 23 had successfully concluded a test flight and we coordinated with local air traffic control as we managed its slow descent to a rural area just east of Los Ángeles, Chile,” a rep said in a statement.

All of Google X’s internet balloons eventually end up back on the ground, and the company tries to steer them using air currents to a safe landing spot. The balloons are equipped with a special parachute to slow their descent to the ground.

Photos from Soy Chile show police fencing off the area where the Loon crashed and a forensics team on site. The deflated balloon looks like a huge trash bag with mangled solar panels and other electronic parts.