Balloon crash an 'absolute nightmare' - victim

2016-10-25 19:12
(Supplied to News24)

(Supplied to News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - A hot air balloon ride which was supposed to have been a lovely day out turned into an "absolute nightmare" for a 70-year-old woman who survived a crash-landing on Tuesday.

Olivia Denny was part of a group of 14 in the balloon, the trip was a 70th birthday present from her son.

"I am just absolutely thankful that we are all alive. It was supposed to be one beautiful day out, but it turned into an absolute nightmare," Denny said.

The balloon crashed into a tree near the Buffelspoort dam, North West, injuring two adults and a child.

A British tourist was in critical condition with internal injuries. A 4-year-old girl was airlifted to a Johannesburg hospital, also in critical condition. The girl's mother was taken to a Brits hospital with suspected spinal and internal injuries, Loanne Louw of Hartbeespoort EMS told News24.

Denny said the landing wasn't what the pilot expected.

"We wanted to land in an open veld, but when we were about to land, the wind just swept us away," she said.

She said it felt like driving backwards in a car at 40km/h.

"The wind dragged us through the bushes and rocks before we eventually landed between two trees. We had to hold on for dear life."

Denny said the two trees were their saving grace. She said the basket was turned upside down and one woman fell out.

A ride to remember

After the crash, it was difficult to get help because no one knew where they were.

"One of the passengers had to walk to one of the farmers' houses to ask for help, while we helped the injured," she said.

A helicopter eventually hovered over the crash site and alerted paramedics to their location.

The balloon's owner earlier said unexpectedly strong winds were to blame.

"At first glance, the wind seems to be the reason it happened," Bill Harrop, owner of Bill Harrop's Original Balloon Safaris, told News24.

Harrop said the day's aviation weather forecast showed a five-knot wind near the surface.

Conditions were good when the balloon took off early on Tuesday morning, but the wind picked up and became six times stronger.

"Looking at the weather forecast, any pilot in the world would have taken off. It was good," he said.

"The wind then picked up to 29-30 knots and took them in a difficult direction. Once the wind picks up, you have to find the safest landing location, and it ended up with a fast landing. It was very well executed, with a very skilled and experienced pilot. Just before they stopped the drag, they hit some rocks and that caused the problem," Harrop said.

Denny said it would be a ride to remember.

 

Read more on:    mahikeng  |  air crashes  |  aviation

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.