Slovenian hot air balloon grounded

by Alister POOLE on August 29, 2012

The Civil Aviation Authority in Slovenia has had to temporarily ban every commercial hot air balloon flight in the eastern European country after a crash killed four people and left 28, two of which were Britons, with injuries.

The balloon, carrying 32 people in total, got caught up in strong winds and apparently struck a tree before catching fire and crashing to the ground. Thankfully, a second balloon that was in the air at the time landed safely.

The two mentioned Britons – a male and a female believed to be holidaying with one another – had to be rushed to a local hospital so that their burns could be treated. All of those that were killed were Slovenian citizens, including a girl aged just 11.

The chief of the Slovenian firefighting team which attended to the blaze, Tomaz Kucic, commented that when his men arrived on the scene, the hot air balloon was burning on the ground. Mr Kucic didn’t specify whether or not the balloon had caught fire while while it was still mobile, or once it had crashed.

Witnesses told the STA news agency in Slovenia that the balloons shouldn’t have taken off due to poor weather conditions. Local media sources have also reported how the pilot didn’t have a license valid for flying such mechanisms.

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