On Wednesday, August 26, one of Kenya’s Google internet balloons landed in a DRC village causing panic and confusion among the residents for about three days.

Various sources initially indicated that the balloon had crashed at a farm in Buta area, sparking fear that it could have been a spy machine.

However, upon confirming it to be a Project Loon balloon, the firm’s spokesperson revealed that there was no crash and that the landing was controlled.

“The Loon Team and the DRC air traffic team worked on this landing. I can confirm that Loon executed a controlled landing of one of our stratospheric balloons in this region,” the Loon spokesman said in a statement.

Loon also revealed that the landing was safe and organized such that it would bring no harm.

Contrary to Loon’s report, Bas-Uele Governor Valentin Senga, in whose territory the balloon landed, told Reuters that he was not aware of such a case.

“I’m not able to say exactly what kind of device I observed. What intrigues us is that neither the intelligence services nor the local aviation authorities claim to have any information on the overflight of Congolese air space by this aircraft,” Senga said.

The said craft is owned by Google subsidiary Loon LLC and was first launched in Kenya in July 2020 by President Uhuru’s administration as well as the private sector.

This technology enables internet access by creating an aerial wireless network, registering speeds of up to 1 Mbps.

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