DEN08LA006
DEN08LA006

On October 9, 2007, approximately 0830 mountain daylight time, a Cameron Z-105, N1024B, registered to and operated by the pilot, was substantially damaged when it struck two houses and an arroyo while landing in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot was seriously injured, three passengers received minor injuries, and one passenger escaped injury. The local flight originated approximately 0715 from Albuquerque.

The balloon was participating in the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. According to the pilot, the passengers were given a landing briefing. She said the winds were calm on the surface and 8 mph or less during the 1-1/2 hour flight. She was attempting to land in a "very large open field" near Kim Street, about 1/2-mile west of Highway 528, in Rio Rancho. "An unexpected massive gust of wind pushed me down and sideways towards a house," she wrote. She activated both burners in an attempt to avoid hitting the house. The balloon struck the house's parapet wall, then hit the ground and two passengers were ejected. The balloon lifted back into the air, due to the weight loss, and the pilot opened the emergency vent. The balloon hit the ground again, ejecting a third passenger. The winds "were still very severe --- gusting to 35 mph or greater," the pilot wrote. The balloon traveled across a street and struck a second house, damaging its swamp cooler. The balloon came to rest on its side in the yard of the second house. A fourth passenger and the pilot crawled out, and the latter lost consciousness. The pilot had sustained multiple fractures, and was hospitalized for 6 days.


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