Many fuming over jams caused by Penang hot air balloon fest

Colourful orbs: Crowds gathering to watch as the participating night glow hot air balloons prepare to launch into the night sky to mark the climax of the festival at Polo Ground in Penang.
PHOTO: Courtesy of Sevena Networks

GEORGE TOWN - After strong winds messed up day one of the Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2016, a massive traffic jam left many fuming at Polo Ground yesterday.

A three-minute fireworks display and the spectacle of looking at the 15 international and local hot air balloons - including six shaped like an orange, zebra head, alien rocket, montgolfier balloon, wise monkeys and ice cream - drew hundreds to the venue and reduced traffic to a crawl on Jalan Residensi leading to the Penang Hospital.

An ambulance was caught in the jam which was caused by vehicles parked illegally along the roads leading to Polo Ground.

Penang Hospital Visitors Board chairman Lim Thoon Deong said he believed there was a patient in the ambulance.

"The ambulance was using Jalan Residensi as that is the route to the hospital," he said.

Lim said the traffic situation turned bad last night as most people came to watch the night glow balloons and fireworks.

"People were also parking at the hospital car park, taking up space for those who wanted to come to the hospital. The whole place was a mess," he said.

The two-day festival ended yesterday.

On Monday, some 100 visitors were left feeling deflated after their balloon rides were grounded due to strong winds in the morning.