- Associated Press - Saturday, December 25, 2010

MIDVALE, Utah (AP) — If only Santa was as good with hot-air balloons as with reindeer sleighs.

A man in a Santa outfit took a wild ride through Utah skies Christmas Eve when his balloon took off without a pilot.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Santa was tossing candy to children from the balloon during a Midvalley Elementary School fundraiser when the craft landed too hard and the pilot tumbled out.

That left Santa alone, and the lighter balloon shot back into the air.

Police Sgt. Torin Chambers said Santa traveled 1.7 miles across Midvale before the craft lost enough air to come down.

A crowd at the school tailed the balloon through town and helped hold it down once it landed.

Sgt. Chambers said neither Santa nor the pilot was hurt. “Santa’s fine, and everything’s good.”

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