Hot air balloon crash being probed
Cape Town - While other hot air balloon companies cancelled their flights due to a strong wind on Saturday, one private Cape Town operator decided to go ahead with his balloon tour - which resulted in a crash on a Stellenbosch wine farm.
Die Burger reported that three women - Marié Jacobs, 50, Louise Vorster, 57, and Sanet Koster, 50 - were injured when the balloon flew into power cables and caught fire, crashing on Nooitgedacht wine estate.
Two of the women had to undergo operations and were in a stable condition in the Stellenbosch MediClinic.
Pilot Justin Fowler was not injured.
Farm owner Werner Wirth, 32, said Fowler had told him the crash would bankrupt him. Fowler had also said he had wanted to land in one of his vineyards but saw that poles had been planted and let in more hot air to land somewhere else.
A strong gust of wind then lifted the basket and blew them into power cables, causing a short circuit and fire. The ropes and cables caught fire and the basked crashed down.
A spokesperson from the Commercial Balloon Operators Association of South Africa said Fowler was not registered with them. All commercial operators had to be registered.
The incident would be investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority.
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