NTSB Identification: CEN09LA009
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, October 10, 2008 in Rio Rancho, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/13/2009
Aircraft: Sproul 72K-TET, registration: N72KX
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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 pilots were participating in a balloon festival. A witness stated that the balloon was traveling northeast between 15 and 20 knots. The wind was gusting between 20 and 25 knots. The witness said, "As the balloon proceeded towards me...I noticed that there was no heat given to the envelope. [As the balloon flew over a ditch and upward slope, it] encountered an updraft from the low level winds causing this accident." Photographs taken by witnesses show the balloon approaching power lines. Neither pilot had their hands on the burner control. When the balloon struck the power lines, the suspension cables were partially severed. The fuel line was completely severed and began spewing liquid propane, and the basket caught fire. The occupants and part of the basket fell to the ground. The envelope drifted off and was later recovered some 7 miles away from the power lines. The recorded winds at the time of the accident were from 130 degrees at 4 knots.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from the power lines and the failure of either pilot to take any corrective action to avoid the collision. Contributing to the accident was the pilot-in-command's inadequate supervision of the pilot-rated passenger.

Full narrative available

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