NTSB Identification: CHI94FA209.
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Accident occurred Saturday, June 25, 1994 in WEST CHICAGO, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/24/1995
Aircraft: Cameron CAN-56, registration: N20367
Injuries: 3 Serious.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

THE COMMERCIAL FREE BALLOON PILOT AND TWO PASSENGERS WERE PARTICIPATING IN A BALLOON RACE. THE PILOT HAD SELECTED A FIELD IN WHICH TO LAND, AND HIS CHASE CREW WAS POSITIONED IN THE FIELD WATCHING HIS APPROACH. THE PILOT DID NOT ADD HEAT AS HE CROSSED THE FINAL TREELINE. AS THE BALLOON CROSSED THE TREELINE AND ROAD WHICH BORDERED THE UPWIND EDGE OF THE LANDING FIELD, THE GONDOLA, SUPPORT CABLES, AND BOTTOM OF THE ENVELOPE CONTACTED POWERLINES AND THE PROPANE TANKS IGNITED. THE THREE OCCUPANTS FELL 30 FEET TO THE GROUND, SUSTAINING IMPACT INJURIES. THE EMPTY BALLOON REASCENDED, AND FINALLY CAME TO REST 5 MILES DOWNWIND OF THE POWERLINE IMPACT.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

the pilots failure to maintain vertical clearance above powerlines which bordered the field in which he intended to land. A factor associated with the accident were the powerlines.

Full narrative available

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