PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - You've likely seen those sky lanterns sometimes called chinese lanterns. They're often released into the sky at weddings and other celebrations. Have you ever wondered where they land?
One Punta Gorda couple woke up on New Year's Day to one that landed on their boat! The couple told WINK News they're glad 2014 didn't start with a fiery situation.
What goes up must come down!
"I got up New Year's Day and I looked out on the boat and saw a yellow object," says Richard Waggoner.
He added he thought it was a rain slicker but then realized the stowaway on his boat was a sky lantern.
"It must've been burning when it landed because there were burn marks on the balloon...the whole back deck of the boat was covered with ashes and along the side there were ashes," he says.
Waggoner says he's thankful that's all the lantern left behind.
"It could've landed a little further over on the boat and caught the canvas top on fire, could've caught the boat on fire. there's a lot of gasoline on the boat that could've gone up in flames," he adds.
These sky lanterns have caused some concern with fire officials around the country. There's even a push in places like New Hampshire to ban them. Youtube video shows a fire that started at a British recycling plant. Officials blame a sky lantern for the massive blaze.
"Something prematurely could tear it and it comes down prematurely and start a fire," says Chief Dennis DiDio.
Cief Didio with Charlotte County Fire and Rescue says lanterns bring up similar concerns they have with fireworks.
"Those embers come down to he ground which is why they have those safety clearance zones at fireworks shows," he adds.
Banned or not, Waggoner hopes that for whatever reason people are using these celebrate, they think twice.
"That's really stupid, that's gonna land somewhere and catch something on fire," he adds.
Manufactures say these lanterns burn out before they land. They also suggest you don't set them off within five miles of an airport or a wooded area.