The balloon crashed on the Island, with the real Henry Gale as an occupant. He was killed in as yet unknown circumstances, although the survivors assumed that he was murdered by one of the Others, Ben, who subsequently stole his identity. Gale was buried in a grave next to the crash site.
The balloon had an enclosed gondola with several metal cylinders attached and a hatch on top. The side of the gondola had a decal reading, "Minnesota Metallurgy & Mining Co." Under that were the words, "Proudly Sponsored By" with decals for Mr. Cluck's Chicken Shack and Nozz-a-La Cola.
The balloon itself was red with a smiley face logo on the side, similar to the smiley face button from the graphic novel Watchmen, which the writers have expressed an appreciation for in past interviews.