FTW97LA011
FTW97LA011

On October 5, 1996, at 0645 mountain daylight time, a ground crew member for an Avian Balloon Skyhawk, N47AV, sustained serious injuries while tethering the balloon during take off. The pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured and the balloon was not damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight near Albuquerque, New Mexico. A flight plan was not filed.

According to the pilot, the balloon was on a "dawn patrol" demonstration. The crew members were holding to the gondola just prior to breaking ground. As the balloon became airborne, a crew member's hand became caught on one of the rope handles normally used by passengers. She was lifted up to about 20 feet AGL. Someone on the ground said, "jump," and she released the handle. Before impacting the ground, she contacted the side of another balloon that was being inflated.

The pilot stated that he was not aware that the crew member was in distress.

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