Onlookers appear horrified as they watch a hot-air balloon drift dangerously close to a raging waterfall inside Letchworth State Park in upstate New York recently.  Interestingly, many who watched the video say the pilot did this on purpose.

In the 54-second clip posted by Ray Kroft to the Wildlife and Nature Lovers of Upstate New York Facebook group, tourists watching the balloon seem to think nothing of it until about the 40-second mark.

That's where it appears in the video that the operator of the balloon miscalculated its proximity to the cascading rapids, getting dangerously close, appearing to kiss the falls.

A woman watching can be overheard in the video repeating "Oh sh*t", oh God" at least 2 or 3 times.  She's not the only one with anxiety watching this video - I had it too.

Moments after it touched the falls seemingly heading for disaster, the pilot was able to steer the balloon back to safety and lift it out of the danger zone, back into the sky.

Interestingly enough, there's seems to be some debate on the Facebook page between people, like me, who feel there is no way any pilot would take a hot-air balloon that close to the falls.  Considering how little control you have inside a hot-air balloon, it would seem like an unnecessary risk no pilot in their right mind would intentionally take.  And one that the guests would give a 'hard no' to.

But others claim that this kiss of death was done intentionally and that it's common for skilled thrill-seeking pilots to take hot-air balloons dangerously close to waterfalls.

Take a look at the videos below and judge for yourself.  Was this done intentionally, or was this crisis averted by the skilled pilot?

 

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