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Unmanned hot-air balloon hits Olympic arena; minor damage

Last Updated Sep 12, 2016 at 2:00 pm EDT

Yanke Feng, from China, left, competes with Adrian Castro, from Poland, in the men's individual sabre, category B, wheelchair fencing event at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

RIO DE JANEIRO – A small, unmanned hot-air balloon has crashed into the roof of one of the areas in Rio’s Olympic Park, causing minor fire and water damage but with no reported injuries.

Rio organizing committee spokesman Mario Andrada says the balloon was probably launched from one of the city’s favelas and hit the Carioca 3 Arena. Andrada says “firefighters used a lot of water, and water spilled into the field of play.”

The balloon struck early Monday morning. Officials were able to repair the limited damage, which allowed a wheelchair fencing event to start on time.

Andrada says launching the unmanned balloons is a Rio tradition, often to celebrate church feast days. He says police are investigating who launched the balloon.

Andrada says the balloons are illegal and “particularly dangerous when they fall into big houses or big factories.”

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