11 injured in balloon heavy landing in Australia

2018-03-30 11:40
This image shows a fire from a hot air balloon that crashed. (Rob Hammersmark via AP, file)

This image shows a fire from a hot air balloon that crashed. (Rob Hammersmark via AP, file)

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A hot air balloon landed heavily after hitting a tree north of Sydney on Friday, injuring 11 people, officials said.

The balloon was carrying a pilot and 24 passengers when it landed in a field in Hunter Valley shortly after hitting the tree, Professional Ballooning Association of Australia spokesperson Damian Crock said.

Ambulance Inspector Luke Wiseman said 11 of the passengers went to hospitals with injuries including suspected spinal damage and broken bones. None of the injuries was life-threatening, he said.

All the injured had been taken to hospital by car before an ambulance arrived at the crash scene, he said.

The circumstances of the heavy landing would be examined by government crash investigators, Crock said.

The balloon's operator Balloon Safaris did not immediately return The AP's phone call on Friday.

Four passengers were taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries in January when a Balloon Safaris hot air balloon made a heavy landing in Hunter Valley.

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