Hot-air balloon crash leaves four dead, 28 hurt in Slovenia
Four people were killed and 28 injured, including eight seriously, when a hot-air balloon crashed and caught fire south of the Slovenian capital Ljubljana yesterday, authorities said.
Officials said the crash occurred around 8 a.m. local time, near the town of Ig, some 12 kilometres south of the capital. The balloon was carrying 30 passengers along with the pilot and co-pilot.
“First findings indicate the accident happened due to sudden strong winds close to the ground” and this “caused problems in manoeuvering the balloon,” said Roman Rovancek, the head of the accident investigation office at the infrastructure ministry.
No immediate information was given on the dead, but the injured included two British citizens and two Italians, all of whom were hospitalised, police spokesman Maja Adlesic said.
STA reported the hot-air balloon burst into flames after it was caught in a storm. Another airborne balloon landed safely further away.
“There was a storm raging at the time of the accident. The balloons tried to land but were thrown about by turbulence. That’s when one of them caught fire,” one witness was quoted as saying.
One passenger who was lightly injured, Tomaz Simnec, told news website 24ur: “The landing was too fast, we hit the ground, rebounded, and then hit the ground again. During the second ‘landing’ five of us fell out of the basket.” He added that he lost consciousness after falling out.