Ryanair pilot killed in hot air balloon accident was 'doing what he loved'
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The family of a 25-year-old Ryanair pilot who was killed in a hot air balloon accident have said he died doing 'what he loved'.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has launched an investigation after the hot air balloon carrying Peter Gregory crashed to the ground near the village of Ombersley, in Worcestershire, in the early hours of Sunday morning (25 June).
A profile on UK Competition Ballooning says Peter gained his ballooning licence on his 17th birthday after being 'brought up in ballooning', and over the years he had taken part in competitions and earned the best newcomer award.
Peter's hot air balloon caught fire before it plummeted to the ground, prompting witnesses to call the emergency services.
Peter was sadly was pronounced dead at the scene at about 6.20am on Sunday.
One witness to the incident, Lynn Wood, told the BBC she had seen 'two single balloons going across the sky in the distance and one suddenly started to fold up'.
The crash came just after hundreds of people had enjoyed the first-ever Worcester Balloon Festival at the city's racecourse on Friday and Saturday, but organisers have stressed the accident was not linked to the festival.
Following his death, Peter's family remembered him as someone who lived life 'to the full'.
In a tribute shared via West Mercia police, they commented: "On the morning of Sunday 25 June, our Pilot Pete took one last flight, doing what he loved."
The family continued: "Be it in a hot air balloon or as an airline pilot, Peter's passion for flying was something his family and friends could only admire and support him towards.
"When he set his heart to something, he'd never give up; he was driven and determined, and one could only watch on in awe.
"We will fly together again soon Pete."
Clive Bailey of Western Region Balloon Club also paid tribute to the young pilot, describing Peter as a 'complete and utter gentleman and a very accomplished pilot'.
"We're all reeling in shock that this has happened to a lovely ballooning family," he said.
West Mercia Police told LADbible police responded to the scene after receiving a call that a hot air balloon had deflated and fallen to the ground near the A449 at Ombersley.
"The balloon fell to the ground in a field off Holt Fleet Road, near Ombersley Court. Emergency services attended and unfortunately a man was pronounced dead by paramedics," the department said.
Peter's balloon was recovered by the AAIB in the wake of the incident, and relocated it to its headquarters for examination.
A spokesperson for the branch said: "Our team are continuing to make enquiries, interview witnesses and gather evidence to help establish the cause of the accident."