Fans at the 2017 U.S. Open saw an unusual and scary sight on Thursday morning at Erin Hills when a blimp crashed. The flying object had nothing to do with the tournament, but was a commercial blimp displaying an aerial ad for PenFed Credit Union. The blimp's pilot was taken to a local hospital to be treated for burns, but was eventually said to be OK by a spokesman for AirSign, the company operating the blimp. Thankfully, no other injuries were reported.
Here are several videos of what happened from people on the ground:
And here's one of several players noticing the crash as well:
There was no delay in the tournament, nor did Fox Sports immediately mention the incident during its coverage.
We hope everyone involved is OK, and we'll update when we learn more.
UPDATE: According to the Milwaukee Journal, the blimp had nothing to do with the golf tournament (which only makes this story more odd), but was a blimp advertising for PenFed Credit Union that deflated and burst into flames before falling out of the sky. The publication reports the blimp crashed near Highway 83 and Highway 167 in Erin, Wisc., and that various rescue crews rushed to the scene.
"They were trying to give it some throttle and it didn't go up," witness Bryan Rosine told the Milwaukee Journal. "Then there was a bunch of kabooms and smoke clouds."
UPDATE No. 2: Here's the statement released by the USGA:
According to local authorities, a commercial blimp not affiliated with the USGA or the U.S. Open Championship broadcast crashed in an open field approximately a half mile from the Erin Hills golf course at approximately 11:15 a.m. CDT. First responders were quick to arrive at the scene and the pilot is currently being treated for unknown injuries. No other people were involved in the incident and local law enforcement is currently investigating. Our thoughts and prayers are with the pilot at this time.
UPDATE No. 3: Good news! According a spokesman for AirSign, the company operating the blimp, the pilot is OK after being treated for some burns at a nearby hospital.