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Associated Press, Published December 25 2010

Balloon takes Santa on wild Utah ride

MIDVALE, Utah (AP) — If only Santa was as good with hot air balloons as with reindeer sleighs.

A man in a Santa outfit took a wild ride through Utah skies Christmas Eve when his balloon took off without a pilot.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Santa was tossing candy to kids from the balloon during a Midvalley Elementary School fundraiser when the craft landed too hard and the pilot tumbled out.

That left Santa alone and the lighter balloon shot back into the air.

Police Sgt. Torin Chambers says Santa traveled 1.7 miles across Midvale before the craft lost enough air to come down.

A crowd at the school tailed the balloon through town and helped hold it down once it landed.

Chambers says neither Santa nor the pilot were hurt. "Santa's fine and everything's good."

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.