Hot air balloon rides are generally considered to be fairly safe. Occasionally, however, balloon accidents can occur.
Hot air balloon accidents on or near the ground
Incidents like slips, trips and falls while boarding or exiting a hot air balloon can cause accidental injuries ranging in severity from bruises, cuts and abrasions to ankle or wrist sprains, fractures and broken bones, and head, back or neck injuries.
Not being ready for landing, during which passengers are supposed to hold on and bend their knees, can result in similar injuries. As can somewhat ‘spirited’ landings due to sudden changes in weather conditions, in particular wind speeds. Pilots or passengers can also suffer injuries by flying objects that were not secured properly for landing.
In-flight hot air balloon incidents
Not bringing hands or heads into the basket when asked to do so during manoeuvres near treetops can also result in ballooning injuries of varying severity.
Dropping or throwing objects out of a balloon’s basket could kill someone on the ground.
Other common in-flight risks
Common hot air balloon accidents also include collisions with:
- Other balloons
- Buildings or trees
- Power lines
Often occurring during contour flying (flying at constant altitudes of less than 75 feet or 22.8 metres above the ground), collisions with buildings, trees or power lines are typically the result of poor decisions or inexperience, as are collisions with other balloons.
Here, injuries may include fatal injuries by electrocution, as well as life-changing or fatal head, neck, back or spinal injuries.
Poor maintenance of fuel systems, though fortunately rare, can also lead to fires during flights. As heat rises uncontrollably, balloons can very quickly rise to fatal heights. Defective fuel systems can also cause injuries by fire and explosions on the ground.
Operators around the world are required to perform meticulous safety checks before every flight. Such checks must include ensuring all equipment is in good, safe working order, as well as assessments of weather conditions, and full safety briefings for passengers.
If such checks were not performed or potential problems were ignored and you were subsequently injured in a hot air balloon accident, you may have a case for a personal
Accident Advice Helpline
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Date Published: April 29, 2016
Author: Accident Advice