A hot air balloon crashed into a power line and caused a fire, but everyone is OK

Published 11:34 am Thursday, March 21, 2024

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ROCHESTER — Three people in a hot air balloon in Minnesota escaped largely unscathed after their basket clipped a power line, fell to the ground and caused a brush fire.

A Minnesota Department of Transportation traffic camera captured the accident on video. It happened around 6:50 p.m. Wednesday in Rochester.

Police said preliminary information indicates the pilot was trying to land in a field when a gust of wind pushed the balloon into a power line that runs along Highway 63.

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The video shows the basket and balloon become disconnected as sparks fly from the power line. The basket appears to hang briefly on the line before falling about 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 meters) to the ground. Meanwhile, the balloon lifts higher into the sky and drifts away.

The pilot and two other passengers were able to get out, even as the sparks caused a brush fire to break out. Police said in a news release that two people reported “very minor injuries.” Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze.

The balloon was found later, about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) away, police said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.