British Tourist Dies in Hot-Air Balloon Crash

South Africa–A British woman has died after being seriously injured in a hot-air balloon crash in the North West. Two other people–a four-year-old girl and her mother have also been injured. The girl was airlifted to a Johannesburg hospital, and her mother was taken to a Brits hospital with suspected spinal and internal injuries.  The crash occurred on Tuesday, 25th October 2016.

The owner of the balloon, Bill Harrop, of Bill Harrop’s Original Balloon Safaris, told local news reporters that strong winds seems to be the reason for the crash. He said that the weather forecast for flying was appropriate with winds at 5-knot near the surface. Conditions were good at launch but then winds got six times stronger during landing.

The balloon had almost landed but strong winds dragged the gondola along the ground and some passengers fell out. “It bounced three times off the ground, before it hit a tree,” said Loanna Louw an Emergency Services spokeswoman.

Harrop said that the landing was very well executed by a very skilled and experienced pilot. Just before they stopped the drag, they hit some rocks and that caused the problem.

Authorities are investigating the incident.


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