Hot-air balloon accident investigated
16 August 2007
A hot air balloon pilot fell 30 feet to the ground after his leg got tangled in a rope as he tried to land on a windy evening, an air accident report revealed.
The 43-year-old - who spent six weeks in hospital being treated for serious injuries - was flying with two passengers at Wood Dalling, near Dereham, last September, when the accident happened.
The Air Accident Investigation Bureau report said the pilot - who has not been named - was thrown from the basket and run over by the balloon as he landed it in “relatively strong” winds after an hour-long flight.
His leg became entangled in the balloon parachute ripline and as the balloon became airborne again, he was carried into the air, hanging below the basket.
The report said that at about 30 feet up the line unravelled itself and he fell to the ground.
The balloon descended with the two passengers pulling on the ripline and then landed.
One of the passengers needed treatment for a hand injury.
The pilot had 54 hours flying experience, 46 of which were in that type of balloon - a Cameron N-90 with four twin burners. (Er I don't think so)
The report said the flight was taken after the weather conditions had been checked and he was familiar with launching from the site.
In the light of the accident, safety guidance has been issued urging all pilots to wear safety harnesses in balloons.