Balloon hits power cables

13th April 2012. A Hot Air Balloon that crashed into power lines, whilst coming into land in a field at West Haddlesey, near Knottingley.
13th April 2012. A Hot Air Balloon that crashed into power lines, whilst coming into land in a field at West Haddlesey, near Knottingley.
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A WOMAN from Liversedge was among terrified passengers in a hot air balloon which crashed into 66,000 volt power cables.

Angela Beal’s air balloon flight crashed at about 8.50am last Friday at West Haddlesey, near Selby. A pilot and nine passengers, who all escaped unhurt, were on board at the time.

Mrs Beal said her daughter had bought her the flight for Christmas – and she said superstitions over Friday 13th did not put her off.

She said: “The balloon took off at about 6.45am and it was a lovely flight. It was so quiet and peaceful. “

However the wind started picking up as they made their descent.

“The pilot had to descend pretty quickly and as he was going down the wind got hold of us,” she said.

The basket hit the ground with a huge bang and a gust of wind dragged it 200 yards across a road, through a barbed-wire fence and over an embankment before hitting the cables.

She said: “The pilot, Jon Russell, kept shouting to us to stay down – we had to stay in the landing position. The balloon was being dragged on its side and we were on our backs.

“When we came to halt and we looked out, we were inches away from a pond.”

Mrs Beal said she heard pops and saw flashes and realised the balloon had hit power cables.

“It all happened too quickly for us to be terrified. It hasn’t put me off and I would do it again,” she said.

“We only had ourselves to blame because it was Friday 13th!”

Mr Russell said: “We set off from York Racecourse and took a 20 mile tour of the local area, and I was bringing the balloon down to land at about three miles per hour in a field.

“Unfortunately, a strong wind took the balloon off course and into the power cable.

“Luckily, the balloon came to rest on the ground next to the pond in the field and me and the passengers were able to jump out of the basket.

“Everyone was a bit shaken but, of course, glad to escape safely.

“It’s just unlucky. I have never had anything like this happen in 25 years, but I suppose we’ll have to put this down to it being Friday 13th.”

An Air Accident Investigation Branch spokeswoman said the incident was being looked into.