Many New York City tourists and residents were reminded of the 1997 Macy’s Parade last week when a helium balloon collided with a lamppost causing a light to fall and injure two sisters. The M&M balloon hit a lamppost near Times square in Manhattan. Two sisters, an 11 year old and a 26 year old, were injured when a light fell on them, causing an abrasion on the 11 year old’s head and requiring six stitches in the 26 year old’s shoulder. A woman suffered serious brain damage when a similar incident occurred in 1997.
During the 1997 Macy’s parade, heavy winds caused The Cat in the Hat balloon to strike a lamppost, which toppled onto four people, leaving one woman with permanent brain damage.
Since then, Macy’s has implemented improved training techniques for the approximately 1,700 people who help handle and direct the massive balloons.
“The training is more extensive, the training has been upgraded, the training is very successful, and the training is monitored by the police department of New York City,” said John Piper, vice president of Macy’s Parade Studio, before Thursday’s event.