Hot Air Balloon Carrying 16 Passengers Catches Fire In Mid Air

A commercial hot air balloon has been forced to make an emergency landing with 16 people on board after it caught fire in mid-air.

15 passengers and the pilot were on board the flight that left Australia's Wanden Park at 05:30am on Boxing Day.

Around 45 minutes later it was back on the floor again after the basket was destroyed in a fire and the balloon was forced to land.

One passenger, a 27-year-old woman, was taken to hospital suffering from minor injuries as a precaution, but there were no other injuries.

Credit: 7 News
Credit: 7 News

The National Commercial Ballooning Industry issued a statement that read: "The pilot, one of Australia's most experienced commercial hot air balloon pilots with approximately 5500 hours in command, flew the aircraft under challenging circumstances and managed to land the balloon safely, then evacuate the 15 passengers and himself."

Despite them being able to make a safe - or at least relatively safe - landing, the balloon itself was destroyed. The Australian Air Transport Safety Bureau has now opened a full investigation into what happened to cause the fire and subsequent emergency landing.

The president of the Australian Ballooning Federation, Martin Tregale, said: "It was a fantastic effort by the pilot to get everyone safely on the ground."

This latest incident is the second hot air ballooning accident in the past few days. Just three days ago three newly engaged couples had to be rescued from a tree by firefighters with chainsaws after a change in the wind saw their hot air balloon blown off course.

That meant that the pilot had to try to avoid power cables and trees that were nearby so that he could get the 10 passengers that were on board to the ground safely.

Credit: 7 News
Credit: 7 News

Of the passengers, several were newly engaged, and another were celebrating their anniversary.

In this instance, nobody at all on the balloon was hurt. However exactly what brought down the balloon is not yet known.

At least all the couples will never forget the day that they got engaged.

Featured Image Credit: 7 News

Tom Wood

Tom Wood is a freelance journalist and LADbible contributor. He graduated from University of London with a BA in Philosophy before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. He has previously written for the M.E.N Group as well as working for several top professional sports clubs. Contact him on [email protected]

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