NTSB Identification: FTW97LA069.
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Accident occurred Sunday, December 22, 1996 in RIO RANCHO, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/25/1997
Aircraft: Aerostar RX-8, registration: N6310T
Injuries: 1 Serious,3 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that she received a weather briefing at approximately 0610 that morning from the Albuquerque FSS. The pilot reported that the balloon flight began at 0750 with 'winds at approximately 6 knots or less.' Approximately 3 to 4 miles northwest of the launch site the pilot 'lowered the balloon to river level and drifted along at 2 to 3 miles per hour for 20 to 30 minutes.' As the balloon rose out of the river valley, the wind shifted to 210 degrees and increased to 15 to 20 MPH. The pilot stated that it took her approximately 20 minutes to locate a 'safe' landing area and by then the wind speed had increased to 20 to 25 MPH. Upon landing, the pilot 'deployed the deflation port,' but the impact was such that two passengers were 'bounced out of the basket.' One of the passengers fell forward and was seriously injured due to being 'run over' by the basket.

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

The pilot's inadvertent flight into high wind.

Full narrative available

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