NTSB Identification: CEN09CA328
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, May 31, 2009 in Fremont, NE
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/09/2009
Aircraft: NATIONAL BALLOONING 858, registration: N31802
Injuries: 1 Serious,3 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.

After a 60-minute morning balloon flight the pilot executed a normal flare to a touch down into two-foot high pasture grass on a soft soil base. GPS records show the touchdown was at six miles per hour. The pilot used the rotator vent to align the balloon so that all of the occupants were facing forward for the touchdown, and he had previously instructed the passengers on how to hold on the rope handles and braces and how to slightly bend their knees for the first impacts of landing. The 79-year-old female passenger said that because she was so short she had to stretch her left arm to hold on to the upper brace. At the first impact with the ground, her adult son standing behind her said that he heard a "pop" and that she then screamed in pain. After the basket stopped moving, the pilot deflated the balloon and tipped the basket on its side to assist the injured passenger in exiting. The passenger was transported to the hospital for treatment of a broken left humerus bone. The other occupants were not injured and the balloon was not damaged.

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

The passenger’s inability to position herself properly for the normal balloon landing.

Full narrative available

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