Cameron Z-350 Balloon, G-CCSA
Although the forecast included a 30% probability of thunderstorms, the local weather conditions were fine when the balloon launched from a field outside the town of Monmouth. About 40 minutes into the flight, some of the occupants of the balloon basket observed lightning to the south and east. Approximately 15 minutes later, prompted by the sound of thunder, the pilot made an approach to land in the area that he had previously selected for the end of the flight. This approach was abandoned because of fluctuating winds and the presence of wires across the landing path. Another attempt to land was aborted before the pilot made an emergency landing in gusty wind conditions onto uneven ground. During the hard landing the pilot and one passenger received serious injuries and the other 13 passengers sustained minor injuries. Following the accident the operator reviewed their decision-making procedures prior to take off. Two recommendations regarding the operator’s procedures and safety equipment have been made.
Published 10 December 2014