NTSB Identification: FTW96FA156.
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Accident occurred Monday, March 25, 1996 in HARTSEL, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/29/1996
Aircraft: Thunder and Colt 180A, registration: N767TC
Injuries: 1 Serious,3 Minor,6 Uninjured.

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.

According to the pilot, he landed the balloon on rocky terrain at the bottom of a hill in winds less than 5 mph. The balloon touched down and bounced, and the pilot vented the envelope. On the second bounce, the basket struck a rock and overturned. The basket was dragged up and over the hill, ejecting all but one passenger, who had become entangled. The pilot managed to free the passenger. A fire erupted in the balloon, and it drifted away, eventually landing in a wooded area about 8 miles away. One passenger said the balloon 'bounced up the hill many times...at least 15 times.' Another passenger said they hit the ground 2 or 3 times heavily...the basket was hitting the ground very hard and bouncing.'

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

The pilot's selection of unsuitable terrain on which to make a landing. The rocky terrain was a related factor.

Full narrative available

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