Niagara's UFO mystery is solved...

The Standard, Canada/July 18, 2011

Port Colborne - Was it a UFO or a hot air balloon?

Actually, it was just a stray balloon from a Saturday night wedding reception.

A representative from Sherkston Shores said a couple was celebrating their wedding at the beach that evening.

"The whole theme was around the Make a Wish Foundation," said the Sherkston employee, who declined to be identified.

During that celebration, the revelers released lighted helium balloons into the air above the popular resort.

"That was part of the whole wish. They lit them and they went up," the woman said.

But when campers at the park saw the spectacle that evening, someone called 9-1-1 to report a UFO, she added.

"They just assumed - I don't know what they assumed," she said.

Port Colborne Fire Prevention Officer Mike Bendia said there were several calls to 9-1-1 that night, reporting something unusual over Lake Erie.

While some callers might have reported seeing UFOs, he said the call firefighters responded to was a little more realistic.

"We got it (the call) as a hot air balloon down," Bendia told The Tribune Sunday.

He said the call came in at 10:34 p.m., initially as a call to assist Niagara Regional Police in an investigation. After firefighters called dispatchers on their way to the resort, they were told a camper thought he witnessed a balloon crashing into the lake.

He said firefighters were on scene for about 40 minutes. While there, they spoke to the man who reported the hot air balloon crash.

Bendia said the balloons were about three feet tall and illuminated.

"It went out over the lake and the guy sitting at his trailer saw this thing and thought it was a hot air balloon from quite a distance away. It was a legitimate call," he said. "But they did get a whack of other calls on it."

"The balloon turned out to be wedding balloons that were set off from the quarry," Bendia said.

Bendia said firefighters needed to respond just in case.

"If it turned out to be a hot air balloon that was down, there could have been people in it. We do rescue," he said. "That alien stuff, I don't know where that come from. It may have came from the park."

The Sherkston Shores representative did not release the identify of the newlyweds.

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