Three passengers are lucky to be alive after spending five hours trapped in a hot air balloon caught in the power lines near Bozeat, near Wellingborough. The small basket holding the hot air balloon pilot Adam Griffiths, and his two passengers were rescued after the balloons canopy wrapped around the live power cables in Northamptonshire on Sunday.
The trio were reportedly at a height of 15m for over four hours, dodging sparks whilst 132, 000 volts of power was cut off allowing them to be rescued.
The 18 year-old pilot told said that he was unaware of how the crash happened. The balloon was approaching a playing field, but unfortunately they hit the power lines instead.
His father Mr Griffiths, 52 who had landed his balloon in a field thought he had witnessed his son die as the hot air balloon burst into flames. He commented on what he had witnessed, saying that he had heard a bang and saw the basket and balloon on fire which led him to assume the worst.
The passengers, Adam Griffiths, Colin Giggle and a girl aged 16 who has not been named, cowered at the bottom of the 9ft square basket. Adam fought the flames with a fire extinguisher and remained unhurt, Mr Giggle suffered a burnt shoulder and the unnamed teenager’s hair was singed.
After their near fatal incident the passengers, who had not been in a hot hair balloon before said their pilot had played I-spy, as they dangled 45ft of the ground for five hours whilst the power lines were switched off so that they could be safely bought back down to safety. Adam commented that he did panic after hitting the power lines, but said that it would not be put of flying balloons.
Mr Giggle, 52 said that the trio had to ‘curl up like hedgehogs’ as the rescue team smashed into the wires. Further going on to say that, this was the type of accident that kills people and that the trio were lucky to walk away from the scene.
Adam and his father were in two of the six balloons that had taken off together from a field near Riseley, Bedfordshire on Sunday afternoon. The hot air balloons had travelled about 10 miles before a gust of wind blew the Adam into the pylons near Bozeat, just before 6pm.
The incident is being investigated by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, Mr Griffiths said that the sudden wind change is the blame for the ‘freak accident’ He said that the £25, 000 Cameron N-77 balloon had been destroyed in the accident but he is glad that his son is okay.