NTSB Identification: CEN14LA007
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, October 09, 2013 in Rio Rancho, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/03/2014
Aircraft: CAMERON BALLOONS US V 77, registration: N9528A
Injuries: 2 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 pilot and passenger departed on a balloon flight and had been airborne for a little over an hour before making three attempts to land. The wind was too strong on the first attempt; on the next attempt, they found themselves over a residential subdivision that prevented them from landing. The pilot then saw an open area on the other side of a street with power lines running along it. His intent was to get over the power lines and then drop the balloon down to the ground. They were over the road and a couple of feet over the power lines when the balloon dropped and struck the power lines. The pilot engaged the burner and the basket slid off the first two wires, but when the basket touched the third wire there was an electrical short and then an explosion. The pilot reported the explosion was the last thing he remembered until he found himself on the ground with the envelope going down.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate clearance from power lines on approach to land, resulting in a collision with the wires, a spark, and a subsequent explosion and on-board fire.

Full narrative available

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