NTSB Identification: DEN04CA072.
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Accident occurred Saturday, May 22, 2004 in Ridgeway, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/01/2004
Aircraft: Lindstrand Balloons 180A, registration: N60181
Injuries: 1 Serious,2 Minor,4 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The pilot reported that while landing the wind changed directions taking his balloon up a slight draw between houses. The pilot said he elected to land on a hillside and wait for his crew. The pilot said they had been there for about a minute when a sudden gust of wind came up the draw and pushed the balloon in the air. The pilot said the balloon headed east toward a house at a rapid rate. He said the basket struck a boat, a ladder rack on a truck, and the edge of the roof of the house. The balloon then returned to the ground and was drug up a hill to its crest. At the crest of the hill the balloon again became airborne. The balloon again came down, this time on a road. The pilot said he ripped out the top to deflate the balloon. The balloon then bounced down the hillside before dragging the basket on its side for a short distance. The pilot said the balloon then came to rest and deflated. The pilot said the seriously injured passenger, on getting down in the basket, sat down hard. The pilot said the bottom of the basket sustained minor damage. The balloon envelope experienced some ripped panels. At 0752, the reported wind conditions at Montrose, Colorado, 25 miles north of the accident site were 210 degrees at 17 knots gusting to 20 knots.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the sudden wind gusts and the pilot's failure to maintain control of the balloon resulting in the balloon's basket impacting two vehicles and a house, and subsequently impacting the terrain. Factors relating to the accident were the two vehicles, the house, and the pilot's delay in taking remedial action to stop the balloon. Full narrative available
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