NTSB Identification: CHI07CA300.
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Accident occurred Sunday, September 16, 2007 in Creston, IA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/29/2007
Aircraft: Cameron Balloons O-77, registration: N9539G
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 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.

During a high-wind landing the balloon landed hard, the pilot was ejected from the basket, and the passenger pulled the envelope deflation line. The balloon came to rest against a barbed-wire fence. The passenger was seriously injured with a broken arm and the balloon's envelope was substantially damaged with several fabric tears and punctures. The accident flight was part of an organized balloon launch in conjunction with a balloon festival. At 0630, the pilot attended a prelaunch pilot meeting that included a weather briefing. At the time of that briefing the surface wind velocity was 4 knots. The surface wind velocity was forecasted to increase to approximately 10 knots by 1000 local time. Upon departure the encountered wind was greater than forecasted. As soon as it was practicable, the pilot performed a high-wind landing to an open hayfield at which time the hard landing was encountered. At 0819, a nearby weather station reported the surface wind was from the south-southeast at 4 knots, gusting to 20 knots. During the subsequent accident investigation, a wind model estimated the wind direction and velocity at approximately 700 feet agl to be from the south at 18 knots.

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

The pilot's inadvertent flight into adverse (high wind) weather conditions, which resulted in a hard landing. Contributing to the accident was the high wind encountered during the balloon flight and the barbed-wire fence.

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