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Police: Hot air balloon pilot dies after getting trapped under basket, falling to ground

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Posted at 10:14 AM, Jul 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-16 14:36:31-04

BRADFORD, Vt. — The Vermont State Police say the pilot of a hot air balloon died Thursday after getting trapped underneath the basket of the balloon and falling to the ground.

Police say the pilot and four passengers took off in the balloon from the Post Mills Airport in the late afternoon and sometime later, the balloon began to descend and briefly touched down in a field.

When contact was made with the ground, police say the basket tipped and a passenger fell out.

“During this sequence, the pilot became entangled in gear affixed to the balloon as it re-ascended and ended up entrapped underneath the basket, where he eventually fell to the ground from a height,” police explained in a press release.

Police say the pilot landed in a field in Bradford, a town near Vermont’s border with New Hampshire, and the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

The balloon carrying the remaining three passengers continued for about 1.5 miles until it became caught in a grove of trees in Piermont, New Hampshire, and the people were able to climb down safely, according to police.

While the pilot died, none of the four passengers were injured in the incident.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) were set to respond to scene of the incident and lead an investigation into what occurred.