This is an old story but it is a reminder of what can go wrong even in publicity stunts.  After six months of planning and anchoring a giant net over a downtown block, the United Way of Cleveland had thousands of volunteers fill 1.5 million balloons with helium and launch them to the underside of the bulging net.  When the time came to launch, it was a glorious sight for a while then bad things started happening.  Drivers looking at the mass rising skyward had accidents.  The Coast Guard looking for two missing fishermen could not find them amid thousands of semi-deflated balloons in the water.  An airport runway had to be shut down.  A race horse spooked by the balloons was injured.  The United Way was sued.  The balloons were not biodegradable, as was thought, and littered the landscape and waters of Lake Erie.  The only good part of the story was the launch.  It made it into the Guinness Book of World Records.  A small comfort for a disaster.  The lesson is when planning publicity stunts, consider consequences.  A good idea might not be practical or safe.

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