(1:20 p.m.) -- Has the blimp-like object that accompanied Oasis of the Seas on its first sea trials last week disappeared? That's the word today from Finnish television station Nelonen, which reported that the aerostat was lost in the early afternoon, Finnish local time.
The 220,000-ton, 5,400-passenger Oasis of the Seas is scheduled to return to the STX Europe Finland shipyard in Turku today, but the current whereabouts of the blimp are still unconfirmed. No one was onboard the object, which was being tested for use as a balloon ride onboard the largest cruise ship ever built.
Finnish native Teijo Niemela, publisher of Cruise Business Review, translated the short news report for Cruise Critic.
At this point, there's no other news about what has happened and how exactly the aerostat, which was tethered to the ship by a cable, came loose. Royal Caribbean did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In the meantime, Cruise Critic is searching the skies for more information (and posting alerts on milk cartons in the Lido buffet).
--by Dan Askin, Associate Editor
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Missing: Oasis of the Seas' Blimp
June 12, 2009