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Goodyear Blimp Crashes

Goodyear's most venerable and oldest blimp had an undignified, bumpy landing Thursday night - atop some trees in Ohio.

The airship Spirit of Akron crashed into the woods a few miles from the company's air dock, slightly injuring both people aboard.

Pilot Gerald Hissem, 29, and technician Robert Peacock, 34, suffered minor cuts, Goodyear spokesman Keith Price said. No one on the ground was hurt.

It was unclear why the blimp went down, Price said. State, federal and company officials were investigating.

The 205-foot Spirit of Akron is the oldest of seven blimps promoting the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. The $5 million blimp is based about 10 miles southeast of Akron.

Goodyear said the blimp, about 12 years old, passed an inspection the day before the crash, which happened as the crew was making a routine night flight.

The airship was traveling about 25 mph to 40 mph when a problem was discovered, said Scott Baughman, manager of North American airship operations.

Hissem released 150 gallons to 200 gallons of kerosene fuel and put the blimp into a controlled descent. The airship can hold about 430 gallons but was only carrying about 200 on Thursday, Baughman said.

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