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Hot-air balloon crash wounds seven in Australia

| Updated: February 09, 2018 13:17:28


AP photo used for representational purpose. AP photo used for representational purpose.

At least seven people have been injured after a hot-air balloon carrying them, was hit by a surprise weather change and crash-landed on Thursday in a field near Australia’s southern city of Melbourne, said officials.

The passengers, some from Australia and others from overseas, fell from the basket as the pilot attempted to land following an unexpected weather change, reports Reuters citing police.

But police did not disclose the nationalities of the overseas passengers.

Balloon owner Go Wild Ballooning referred media queries to the chief executive of a nearby ballooning business, Damien Crock.

“The pilot, who has had a flying licence for 30 years, experienced an unexpected south-westerly wind change and had to land in difficult conditions,” said Crock, adding that he had spoken to the pilot.

The ambulance service in the south-eastern state of Victoria said it treated the tourists for back and neck injuries at the scene, before sending seven, aged between 20 and 70, to hospital.

Media broadcast images of the upturned basket and passengers lying in the field where the craft landed.

Officials said the balloon took off at 7 am from Glenburn, a small country town north of Melbourne, and travelled about 25 km (16 miles) south before landing heavily 20 minutes later in Dixons Creek.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said it was interviewing the pilot and witnesses to determine the cause of the crash.

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