One of Google’s WiFi balloons — created for “Project Loon,” which seeks to connect people in areas that have no Internet access — caused alarm Friday when it suddenly landed in New Zealand’s lower South Island.
The high-tech WiFi balloon was spotted by a concerned resident off the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island and was initially mistaken for a crashing plane, according to The New Zealand Herald.
Emergency services including police, an ambulance, a Westpac Rescue Helicopter, and a lifeboat arrived at the scene around 11:30 a.m. Officers on the scene confirmed that it was in fact not a fallen plane but a balloon. No injuries were reported.
The Wall Street Journal reports Google has been testing its balloons in New Zealand since last June. “Since launching Project Loon in New Zealand last year, we’ve continued to do research flights to improve the technology,” a Google spokesman told the Wall Street Journal.
Project Loon is part of the search giant’s experiment to bring internet access to the two-thirds of the world that don’t have it. Last month, one of its balloons got caught in a power line in Washington state and crashed.
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