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Police: 1 dead in NM balloon accident
AP on Yahoo ^ | 10/8/07 | Sue Major Holmes - ap

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.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: New Mexico
KEYWORDS: accident; albuquerque; balloon; newmexico

1 posted on 10/08/2007 10:53:49 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
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Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta:
http://www.balloonfiesta.com


2 posted on 10/08/2007 10:54:09 AM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline—1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRget!!!)
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To: NormsRevenge

Dang! Missed it again this year.


3 posted on 10/08/2007 10:57:12 AM PDT by Muleteam1
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To: Muleteam1

4 posted on 10/08/2007 11:00:49 AM PDT by Puppage (You may disagree with what I have to say, but I shall defend to your death my right to say it)
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To: abner

Hope all’s okay...


5 posted on 10/08/2007 11:20:00 AM PDT by Bob J (sis)
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: NormsRevenge
You know, I ain't very bright, but I'll take a stab at this one:
How about moving the event a mile or so away from the power lines? Just a thought.
7 posted on 10/08/2007 11:50:25 AM PDT by Ignatz (Soylent green is people, too!)
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To: Ignatz
How about moving the event a mile or so away from the power lines? Just a thought.

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....

8 posted on 10/08/2007 12:05:47 PM PDT by Cogadh na Sith (Peace Through Light)
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: NormsRevenge; greyfoxx39

Sad ping for the NM list.


10 posted on 10/08/2007 12:12:09 PM PDT by CedarDave (Vietnam vet supporting today's freedom fighting men and women and their families.)
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To: NormsRevenge

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.

11 posted on 10/08/2007 12:15:08 PM PDT by CedarDave (Vietnam vet supporting today's freedom fighting men and women and their families.)
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To: Bob J

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.


12 posted on 10/08/2007 12:17:36 PM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: abner
Ping

Leni

13 posted on 10/08/2007 12:18:31 PM PDT by MinuteGal (Three Cheers for the FRed, White and Blue !)
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To: Cogadh na Sith; CedarDave

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.


14 posted on 10/08/2007 12:19:17 PM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: Cogadh na Sith
No kidding. When I was living in Farmington my neighbors owned a balloon and they always took great pains to avoid stuff like that.

However, they told me that anything you to has about a 30-60 second delay, so if you're trying to avoid something at the last minute, you're too late.
15 posted on 10/08/2007 12:20:05 PM PDT by OCCASparky (Steely-Eyed Killer of the Deep)
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To: Tijeras_Slim
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.

16 posted on 10/08/2007 12:23:37 PM PDT by CedarDave (Vietnam vet supporting today's freedom fighting men and women and their families.)
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To: NormsRevenge

More here:

http://www.abqjournal.com/


17 posted on 10/08/2007 12:25:55 PM PDT by CedarDave (Vietnam vet supporting today's freedom fighting men and women and their families.)
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To: CedarDave

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.


18 posted on 10/08/2007 12:26:15 PM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: Ignatz
How about moving the event a mile or so away from the power lines? Just a thought.

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.

19 posted on 10/08/2007 12:36:12 PM PDT by CedarDave (Vietnam vet supporting today's freedom fighting men and women and their families.)
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To: Tijeras_Slim

Wouldn’t want anyone spotting those nuclear weapons bunkers, would they.


20 posted on 10/08/2007 12:37:31 PM PDT by CedarDave (Vietnam vet supporting today's freedom fighting men and women and their families.)
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To: CedarDave; abner

Update

The woman is from California.

Abner, I’m Curious ,, are balloonists required to have any safety straps attached while in the basket? This seems freakish and most unfortunate , to say the least..

California woman killed in balloon crash during New Mexico fiesta

http://www.bakersfield.com/119/story/254885.html

A California woman participating in the city’s annual balloon festival fell from the tipped basket of a hot air balloon Monday, and plunged 60 to 70 feet to her death, state police said.

State police spokesman Andrew Tingwall identified the victim, one of five people aboard the balloon’s gondola, as Rosemary Wooley Phillips, 60, of California. Tingwall did not know her hometown.

Before the basket tipped, a propane tank on the balloon ruptured and shot out the side of the basket, leaving a hole, Tingwall said. Investigators were trying to determine what caused the tank to rupture and whether that contributed to the tipping of the gondola, he said.

The balloon became stuck on a fiberoptic line about 8 a.m. MDT, and the pilot, Tom Reyes, 57, of Sandia Park threw a tether to a pickup truck on the ground to reel the balloon down and free it, Tingwall said.

However, when the tether broke, the balloon flew back up, the gondola tipped and the woman fell out, he said.

Emergency medical technicians tried to revive her 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, he said.

The balloon, flying in the 36th annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, also carried Sheryl Diaz, 60; Susan Simpson, 57; and Doris Currier, 52, all of California.

Tingwall had no information about any injuries to the others aboard.

The crash site is about three miles from the launch field for the nine-day ballooning fiesta, which takes place every October and draws hundreds of balloons. The fiesta features mass ascensions of balloons, events for special shapes balloons and competitions for pilots.

At the launch field, balloonists expressed condolences for the victim’s family.

“It puts a bit of a cloud over the fiesta,” said pilot Chris Hinde of Rugby, England, flying in Albuquerque for the 10th year. “People always ask if we should keep going. We made the decision not to fly today after we heard the news.”

There have been fatalities in previous years.

One woman was killed during the 1998 fiesta 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.

But on balance, such fatalities are rare and balloonists generally don’t consider their sport to be dangerous.

“It’s no riskier than driving a car,” said pilot Anthony Haynes of Houston. “It’s a sad thing when it happens. But when you see a car accident, you don’t stop driving.”


21 posted on 10/08/2007 1:00:43 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline—1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRget!!!)
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To: NormsRevenge

I’ve attended many such gatherings - though not in Albq where my family lives - as a chaser for pilots who were friends.

Absolutley amazing how many idiots get to pilot balloons!


22 posted on 10/08/2007 1:04:06 PM PDT by txzman (Jer 23:29)
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To: Tijeras_Slim

I helped crew that balloon this morning. We did dawn patrol and were the first balloon off. He flew longer today and came down between Los Lunas and Belen.


23 posted on 10/08/2007 1:12:49 PM PDT by Jackson57
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To: NormsRevenge

KOB TV video:

http://kob.com/article/stories/S218842.shtml?cat=500


24 posted on 10/08/2007 1:20:06 PM PDT by CedarDave (Vietnam vet supporting today's freedom fighting men and women and their families.)
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To: Jackson57

It was quite a surprise!


25 posted on 10/08/2007 1:59:22 PM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: Tijeras_Slim

Yeah, I think even THEY were a bit surprised that they flew that far. The pilot is a VERY experienced guy from Germany. Even flies hydrogen balloons in Europe.

Very tragic about the woman who fell from the balloon this morning. We’d already launched and taken off to chase when it happened. Pretty much all of the balloons had launched and landed before we got back. From the sounds of it, though, it was a very freak accident.


26 posted on 10/08/2007 2:04:03 PM PDT by Jackson57
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To: Jackson57

For a moment or two it looked like he was going to come down in our field. Enough of the neighbors were out that we probably could have handled it.

Where he did come down, based on my eyeballing his path as he dissappeared behind the trees was a better bet. Larger and no power line.

Never seen one on this side of the freeway, near the Sandias, yes, but not here.

Truly a shame about the lady this AM.


27 posted on 10/08/2007 2:10:17 PM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: Tijeras_Slim

The pilot has titanium tanks on-board, so he has a lot less weight to deal with.

From what they said, the balloon that had the problem was a local company that sells rides. Unfortunately, they’ll probably be out of business by next year because of a resulting lawsuit.


28 posted on 10/08/2007 3:38:53 PM PDT by Jackson57
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To: CedarDave; LegendHasIt; Rogle; leapfrog0202; Santa Fe_Conservative; DesertDreamer; ...
Just got home NM Ping

If you want on or off the NM Ping list, please FReepmail me.

Access to the ping list is available to anyone by going to my FR home page.

29 posted on 10/08/2007 6:03:38 PM PDT by greyfoxx39 ( Mexico does not stop at its border, Wherever there is a Mexican, there is Mexico. Calderon)
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To: NormsRevenge
Prayers go out for her loved ones, and for all of those who were injured. The balloons are so beautiful, but when they get into trouble, there's nothing you can do to help them.

My one and only balloon ride ended in a crash and I will NEVER ride in another balloon. I've had 3 surgeries as a result of the crash. One on my knee and two on my spine.

30 posted on 10/08/2007 9:23:10 PM PDT by NRA2BFree (It*s time for "Tea Party II" This time we*ll meet at the border and toss Mexicans back over it.)
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To: NormsRevenge
Abner, I’m Curious ,, are balloonists required to have any safety straps attached while in the basket? This seems freakish and most unfortunate , to say the least..

That's a good idea. I was almost thrown out of the basket when we crashed. A harness would keep people from getting thrown out.

31 posted on 10/08/2007 9:40:53 PM PDT by NRA2BFree (It*s time for "Tea Party II" This time we*ll meet at the border and toss Mexicans back over it.)
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To: NormsRevenge
Balloon Fiesta is dangerous on the ground, too. I was in a car wreck on I25 during a mass ascension. Some lady was watching the balloons and rear-ended me.

After that, we usually watched them from our back yard.

Here's a shot from that yard, taken on October 7, 2005. It was kind of overcast that day, as you can see. Our yard faced southeast, and we were in Rivers Edge in Rio Rancho, so the park wasn't far away.

Here's a shot taken on the field just before a mass ascension. The crew is just "warming up."

And lastly, one reason why dogs are always barking at hot air balloons. This was also taken from my back yard.

32 posted on 10/08/2007 10:05:44 PM PDT by Disambiguator (Political Correctness is criminal insanity writ large.)
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To: Disambiguator

Alpo - LOL! There’s a couple times my dog’s been urgently barking, and I see nothing - then I hear the roar of the gas and realize there’s a balloon passing overhead! Now, if they have a Milk Bones one he’ll really go bonkers! Loved seeing the event in NM back in the ‘90s.


33 posted on 10/08/2007 10:32:25 PM PDT by GnuHere
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