Up, up and away for Derry schoolgirl Aoife

Aoife DOherty pictured with the German weather balloon which fell out of the sky and landed in her garden. (2106SL24) Photo: Stephen Latimer
Aoife DOherty pictured with the German weather balloon which fell out of the sky and landed in her garden. (2106SL24) Photo: Stephen Latimer

When Mrs Parke’s primary two class at Holy Family Primary School were learning about different kinds of balloons, they didn’t realise that one pupil was about to bring to their lesson to life in a very interesting way.

For as Mrs Parke spoke about weather balloons, one such item was about to make a crash landing into six-year-old Aoife Doherty’s front garden.

“I thought it was a plastic bag,” Aoife said, “But my daddy looked at it and he said it was weather balloon.”

The deflated balloon, with a polystyrene attachment complete with sensors poking out of it landed in Aoife’s Drummard Park home and as her teacher spoke she piped up that she had one in her garden.

Aoife’s daddy then brought the balloon to school for all her classmates to see - and through his clever detective work, he was able to tell them it had come all the way from Nuremberg in Germany.

Class teacher Mrs Linda Parke explained: “The casing had an email address on and Aoife’s daddy sent an email and heard back where he was told it had been launched in Germany by someone working for the military.

“He was able to open the casing and he could see a green light flashing.

“His contact told him that they had been aware the balloon had landed here as they had still been tracing it but now they would turn the signal off.

“Aoife’s daddy was then allowed to hang onto the balloon so she was able to bring it into class.”

Mrs Parke said most weather balloons came back to earth at sea and it was highly unusual for them to make it to dry land.

“We were told this was very unusual indeed and they don’t normally land in front gardens in Derry!”

The highly inquisitive primary two class have been enthralled with their find and Aoife is enjoying her new found celebrity status.

“I think it took a long time to get here,” she said, “and Mrs Parke told me that weather baloons can fly even higher than airplanes!”