128-foot-long blimp crashes into Ohio woman's backyard

For a few glorious minutes Sunday, a blimp that was supposed to promote a luxury vodka flew the skies free of any interference from pilots or marketing departments, while its handlers searched for its whereabouts in frustration.

The blimp, which is the centerpiece of "The Official 2011 Hangar One Blimp Tour," harnessed the power of storm winds to escape its moorings at the Ohio State University Airport. It quickly rose out of sight into the higher levels of the troposphere, prompting a frenzied blimphunt from the FAA and the private company that owns it on the ground below. Seven hours later, the gassy airship, utterly expended, made a soft landing in the backyard of 94-year-old Worthington resident Lillian Bernhagen, who lives about 2 miles away from the air field. Reports the Associated Press:

The remnants of a battered blimp were draped over Bernhagen's picnic table and birdfeeders, covering half her backyard.

"I looked out the window and I said, 'Wow!'" she said.

As this is no ordinary story, I'm going to eschew the normal network coverage in favor of an animation from our Taiwanese friends at Next Media Animation News Direct, after the jump. They really can churn these out quickly now! (Hat tip to TBD's Ryan Kearney for finding this story.)