Skip to comments.Police: 1 Dead in NM Balloon Accident
Posted on 10/08/2007 1:28:50 PM PDT by woofie
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) The basket of a hot air balloon tipped after the craft got stuck, sending a woman on a 60- to 70-foot fall to her death Monday, state police said.
The balloon snagged a fiber-optic 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.
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."
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.
Balloonists, however, say such fatalities are rare and that their sport is not particularly 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."
If you drive in Mexico City, perhaps.
“It’s no riskier than driving a car,”
I wonder what the fatality rate per hour or mile it is for balloons.
For cars, is is about 50,000,000 vehicle miles (or 1m hours) per fatality.
yeah I guess if cars flew they'd hit power lines too, because blowing around depending on wind currents where power lines are evident and the cause of so many fatalities is nothing to look at.....pretty dumb statement, considering if everyone was flying around in balloons, the fatalities would number in the millions, yearly
Dreadful. May the victim rest in peace. Prayers for the family.