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Research balloon lost, Pontiac students ask for help - again

Pontiac Township High School science teacher Paul Ritter is asking for help, again.

He’s reached out before, contacting WGFA Radio, to ask listeners for help in locating a research weather balloon gone off course and maybe lost in a rural setting. Now, Ritter is asking for help again. People can keep their eyes open for what Ritter calls an “educational, experimental package.”

Ritter and his students are searching for a lost research balloon carrying more than 100 science experiments all created by physics, Earth science, anatomy and physiology and music students, the latter studying the effects of high altitudes on sound waves.

The balloon was launched from the Pontiac school (Livingston County) school November 29. Ritter estimates the balloon reached a height of between 80,000 and 90,000 feet. It could be in the Kankakee County area.

Ritter said those involved got a ping from the balloon's GPS in Cabery. The area was searched, but nothing found. Ritter believes it's somewhere else in Kankakee County, likely Herscher or Limestone. This is only the second time in more than five years one of the balloons has gone missing.

In another experiment, Ritter contacted WGFA believing a balloon was in the Watseka. It was located near Ashkum by a WGFA advertising businsss.

Ritter believes weather turbulence brought the balloon and its equipment down. He said the kids’ experiments are very important to them and any help locating the equipment would be most-appreciated.

Listeners or readers of this message are urged to call Ritter at 815-844-6113. You can also email the teacher at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

94.1 WGFA