MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS) — A giant Google research balloon caused quite a shock for some Southern California neighbors when it fell out of the sky onto a quiet street in Chino Hills.

The fifty foot balloon crash-landed in a palm tree.

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Janet Olaffson didn’t realize it had fallen in her front yard until she got a knock on the door from the local sheriff’s deputies.

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“We ran out, and the police said don’t go near it,” she said. “At that time they had got a call from the company that said it’s a weather balloon,” said Olaffson.



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Curious neighbors came to see it by the droves — driving by, snapping photos. Rumors began to circulate. Some speculated it was a weather balloon traveling from Las Vegas to Japan.

In fact, the orb that fell from the sky belongs to Project Loon. It’s part of a research and development idea to deliver 3-G Internet access. Mountain View-based Google launched the project in partnership with the government of Sri Lanka.

The goal is for these high altitude balloons — called Loon Balloons — to someday transmit signals to people all over the world, so people can “Google” from anywhere, including Chino hills.

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But according to Google, the Loon Balloon was supposed to land nearby — not at Olaffson’s house.

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Fortunately, no one was hurt.