Image: Parade accident.
Julie Jacobson  /  AP
New York City police officers rush into the crowd after a street lamp head crashes to the ground during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, on Thursday, injuring two sisters.
updated 11/25/2005 10:09:45 AM ET 2005-11-25T15:09:45

The two sisters injured because of an unwieldy giant balloon in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are “doing just fine,” and the family doesn’t plan to sue over the incident, their father said.

But city and Macy’s officials say they are investigating Thursday’s events, which echoed a 1997 balloon accident that prompted new parade safety standards.

The sisters, 11-year-old Sarah Chamberlain and 26-year-old Mary Chamberlain, left their Albany home around 3 a.m. to see the nationally televised parade in person.

The accident happened in Times Square near the end of the parade when the tethers on the “M&M’s Chocolate Candies” balloon became tangled in the head of the streetlamp and it broke off. Authorities said the sisters were hit by debris.

Sarah needed nine stitches on her head, her father, Stephen Chamberlain, said Thursday night. Her older sister, who uses a wheelchair, got a bump on her forehead, he said.

“We just count our blessings that they weren’t seriously injured,” the father said.

The family won’t sue because it was “a freak accident,” and “accidents just happen,” he said.

Accident under review
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the accident is under review. “We have to take a look and see what procedures we need to change, if any, before the parade next year,” Bloomberg said.

In a statement, Macy’s said it would work with the city in the investigation, but it also said it had adhered to guidelines including monitoring wind conditions, and using a seasoned and experienced team of people to guide the balloon.

Many of those guidelines were laid down after the 1997 accident, when a balloon knocked over a light post during the parade, critically injuring a woman.

The Macy’s parade started in 1924 and has been an annual tradition, canceled only in the World War II years of 1942 to 1944.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments