(3 p.m.) -- Thanks perhaps in part to Cruise Critic's missing blimp milk carton, pictured left, the tethered aerostat lost during Oasis of the Seas' sea trials has been located. According to Royal Caribbean spokesperson Cynthia Martinez, the craft was found floating in (and not above) the Baltic Sea.
A Royal Caribbean press release offers the following:
"The sea trials included a test of the aerostat -- a helium-filled, blimp-like craft -- which was tethered to the back of the ship by a stainless steel cable. The aerostat producer, Lindstrand Technologies Ltd., was conducting an unmanned test flight of the aerostat, when a failure occurred and the aerostat separated from the ship and drifted away over open water. No one was injured during this incident and no damage to the ship occurred. The aerostat landed in the water and we are in the process of retrieving it.
"The aerostat was produced and being tested by Lindstrand Technologies Ltd., a U.K.-based company that has been building lighter-than-air vehicles on the same site for almost 21 years. Royal Caribbean is working with Lindstrand to evaluate the cause of the incident."
Turun Sanomat, a Turku, Finland-based newspaper, provides more details of the giant Goldfish-cracker-shaped balloon's escape. The publication is reporting that when the blimp came unmoored, the proper authorities were immediately contacted, including Swedish and Finnish military. This was done because the blimp posed a potential threat to air traffic (note: the threat to air traffic has been substantially reduced since the blimp is in the water).
Finland native Teijo Niemela, publisher of Cruise Business Review, translated the news report for Cruise Critic.
--by Dan Askin, Associate Editor
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Missing: Oasis of the Seas' Blimp
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Found: Oasis of the Seas' Missing Blimp
June 12, 2009