Pond Island, Maine – July 25, 1924
On the morning of July 25, 1924, a storm over Lakehurst, New Jersey, broke a navy observation balloon free of its mooring at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station setting it adrift on its own without a crew. The balloon was carried on an easterly course across Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. By the afternoon it was sighted near Isle au Haut off the Maine coast with 1,500 feet of cable still hanging beneath it. By this time the balloon was beginning to settle, and was even brought lower to the water when the cable began to drag across the waves.
The navy had dispatched two ships, the destroyer Putnam, and the tugboat Wandank, to chase and capture the runaway blimp if possible, but before they could do so, the balloon came down and crashed into a tree on the eastern side of Pond Island. (Pond Island is a small island at the mouth of the Kennebec River.)
By the time the Wandank reached the scene the balloon was badly damaged and torn, however the basket and instruments was still in good condition.
In all, the runaway balloon had traveled 450 miles on its own.
The Lewiston Daily Sun, “Maine Tree Halt Runaway Balloon”, July 26, 1924