Strong winds caused the M &M's balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to hit a street lamp whose light fell onto two spectators. The light, at 43rd Street and Times Square, dropped 30 feet onto a pair of sisters - and as you can see in the photo of the light, those suckers are big. The NY Times reports that 11 year old Sarah Chamberlain "had a chipped tooth and was cut in the back of the head" (now there are 9 stitches); her 26 year old sister Mary, who was in a wheelchair, had a CAT scan. Their father, Stephen Chamberlain, said, "It was a freak accident. We're very lucky. We're counting our blessings. Sarah's main concern was that she didn't see Santa Claus after the parade - so Macy's sent Santa to the hospital." Not only did Santa visit Sarah, but Mayor Bloomberg as well! The Mayor promised to form a task force to look into the accident, just as Mayor Giulliani did when the Cat in the Hat balloon hit a streetlamp that fell on top of a woman who then went into a coma. At any rate, Stephen Chamberlain said they would visit the parade next year; we imagine that Macy's will be offering them prime seats, as well as a settlement.

The winds also caused problems for other balloons: Apparently Pikachu "swung too closely" to spectators' heads. Macy's said that most of the balloon handlers for the M&M balloon were trained, plus the winds yesterday were within the regulations (winds over 23 MPH and gusts over 34 MPH are when balloons are grounded; the winds yesterday were mainly 13-20 MPH).

The NY Times has a slideshow of pictures. Newsday also has an account from one of its editors who was a volunteer balloon holder for the Wiggle Worm yesterday; the winds were bad around Times Square. More photos from Flickr - and is it just us, or does Super Grover look Super Close to the Ground?

Top photograph of M & M's balloon crashing from the NY Times; left photo of street light from John Zwinick. John also has a great shot of the Barney balloon, which apparently got its leg ripped off.