Monday, September 17, 2007

Ballooning Accident Eyewitness

Having the presence of mind to shoot photographs as horrendous events unfold can be hard to fathom. Sometimes it happens when a journalist is collecting feature ballooning images. A Sunday morning ballooning game turned dramatic for Times contributing photographer Tim Eddington. He witnessed an accident and runaway balloon near Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City (image right).

Right before Eddington’s lens, Texan Rick Ashby tried to hold onto a balloon rope after a hard landing playing the game, going up and up. From one view, it was a heroic effort to weigh down or to climb in a runaway balloon that could cause havoc hitting a highway. A passenger was not seriously injured in the accident. Ashby was rushed to LSU Hospital after letting go of the rope after rising over 20 feet.

Eddington called photo editor Mike Silva immediately.

“He told me that there had been an accident at the Balloon Rally and he thought he had some good shots,” explains Silva. “Because we did not know the extent of the injuries I decided not to post the close up shots of the man falling.” They worked together to post the accident images quickly that morning, adding more images after feeling sure Ashby would recover.

Silva worked to inform editors and to request a reporter follow up with a story. Heidi Hausmann, deputy news editor, juggled the planned 1A line-up to display Eddington’s dramatic photograph. KTBS will be airing more about the accident and Eddington's work on the evening news at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m today.

Eddington is an accomplished photographer and contributor to The Times. Usually, you can find his byline next to Evangel football (new Evangel Gallery being added today) and some pro football events.

No comments: