Skip to comments.Police: 1 dead in NM balloon accident
Posted on 10/08/2007 10:53:49 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The basket of a hot air balloon tipped after the craft got stuck, sending a female passenger on a 60- to 70-foot fall to her death Monday, state police said.
The balloon snagged a fiberoptic line running above a power line about 8 a.m. during an annual balloon festival. The pilot threw down a tether to a pickup truck on the ground to reel the balloon down and free it, state police spokesman Andrew Tingwall said.
But the tether broke, and the balloon flew back up, causing its gondola to tip and the woman to fall to the ground, Tingwall said.
Paramedics tried to revive the woman, Rosemary Wooley Phillips, 60, of California, in a dirt field where she fell, but were unsuccessful, he said. The balloon, meanwhile, flew across a road near Interstate 25 and crash landed, Tingwall said.
Phillips was one of five people on board. Tingwall did not know the conditions of the other three passengers or the pilot.
The crash site is about three miles from the launch site for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, a nine-day event that began Saturday and features mass ascensions of balloons, events for special shaped balloons and competitions for pilots.
There have been fatalities in previous years.
One woman was killed during the 1998 event when a balloon plowed into two sets of power lines before plummeting about 30 feet to the ground at Kirtland Air Force Base on Albuquerque's south side.
During the 1993 fiesta, two men were killed when their balloon hit power lines, severing the gondola, which plunged about 90 feet to the ground. Two other men died during the 1990 fiesta when their balloon crashed into power lines and burst into flames.
Four people died and five were injured during the 1982 fiesta when propane tanks on a large balloon exploded.
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta:
Dang! Missed it again this year.
Hope all’s okay...
They drift dozens of miles and then crash land all over the city and county.
I'm always amazed every year that more of the dopes aren't killed....
Sad ping for the NM list.
Balloon #049 caught on an above-ground cable near the intersection of Montano and I-25 this morning. A woman fell to her death from the balloon when it suddenly broke free from the cable and she fell from the gondola.
The pilot was a local, the fatality from California. Most of the special shapes didn’t go up today, Abner has the flag and space shuttle balloons.
One got way off course yesterday and landed about a quarter mile east of me. (I’m about 12 miles down South 14 from 40) I’ve never seen one that far over the Manzanos.
Neither have I. But if they had enough propane and lift, it's a lot better than the alternative of running into the mountains.
Given the direction they were drifting, they probably made a number of folks on base unhappy with their overflight.
Good thing 4-hills is “mothballed” or they probably would have been arrested or worse.
At one time is was way north of most development. But the city has grown and now the field is surrounded by development and many landing areas are now commercialized. The city just spent big bucks on a new Balloon Fiesta Park visitor center and museum. It may soon be outdated as the vacant landing areas are disappearing. Call it balloon habitat loss.
Wouldn’t want anyone spotting those nuclear weapons bunkers, would they.