NTSB Identification: MIA00LA179.
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Accident occurred Friday, May 26, 2000 in WINDERMERE, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/30/2003
Aircraft: Aerostar S57-A, registration: N6341V
Injuries: 5 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The balloon was tethered with a three-point, 3/4-inch rope top harness system, anchored on the upwind sides to two trees and on the downwind side to a truck. The last four passengers boarded, and the pilot was waiting for the wind speed to decrease when the balloon was suddenly launched on its own and was thrown to the top of the harness, about 80 feet, in less then 2 seconds. The pilot initiated emergency procedures, but was unsuccessful in bringing the balloon back to the ground, because the force of the wind was pushing the balloon upward. The two upwind lines broke leaving the balloon dangling about 100 feet in the air over power lines. After 30 seconds the downwind line broke initiating free flight. The pilot was able to stabilize the balloon enough to initiate an emergency landing. The balloon impacted with trees about 1/8 of a mile downwind of the original tether site.

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

an in-flight collision with a tree. A factor in this accident was high wind conditions.

Full narrative available

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