Amazing Journey of Alice's Balloon

Alice MainesA helium balloon released at a school on a rainy day in Manchester has been found in southern China.

After a 6,000-mile journey that has meteorologists baffled, the shriveled remains were found by Xie Yufei in a park in Guangzhou, a sprawling metropolis 75 miles north of Hong Kong. The latex balloon had been released on July 15 by Alice Maines, 4, and was one of 100 launched in a balloon race at Flixton Junior School’s annual summer fair. Each one of the balloons, sold for £1, carried a numbered ticket promising the finder a prize: a visit to Chester Zoo.

Balloon's journeyOn September 5, the second day of the new term, a large white envelope arrived in the headmaster’s office. The stamp and postmark were Chinese.

Speaking from his home in Guangzhou, Mr Xie, 26, whose job involves designing air conditioning units, said: “We were playing basketball in a park. I saw it by the edge of the court. It was shrunk, and there was an address attached.” Shrunk though it was, the balloon had not burst.

Sceptics at Flixford Junior School suggested that the balloon had landed on a boat bound for China at Liverpool. However it got to China, it is thought unlikely that Mr Xie will claim his free ticket to Chester Zoo. Instead, the school is sending him a parcel of letters and drawings from the pupils.

Source: TimesOnline
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