Federal authorities are investigating a hot air balloon crash into power lines Saturday in Massachusetts, an accident that sparked a pair of powerful explosions and injured five people.
Six people were on board the balloon, named “Raspberry Ripple,” including a grandmother. The operator was attempting to land in a residential area in Clinton, Worcester County, when the balloon struck the power lines around 7:40 p.m. Two of the passengers sustained severe burns, authorities said. The Federal Aviation Administration was investigating what went wrong.
Moments before the crash, the passengers seemed unconcerned, waving and talking to people below. But the balloon wasn’t flying high enough. The balloon’s impact with the power lines sent sparks flying -- two big explosions, leaving bystanders terrified.
The balloon finally crash-landed into Dennis MacDonald’s backyard. MacDonald rushed to help after witnessing the accident.
“We brought out ice for their wounds,” MacDonald said. “They were all shaken up, but they were all walking.”
Damn Yankee Balloons, the Maine company that owns the balloon, removed the basket from MacDonald’s yard Sunday and refused to comment.
Accidents of this nature aren’t common. Last year, former NFL wide receiver Donte Stallworth and a friend suffered serious burns after a balloon they were in hit power lines.
“I saw we were getting really close to the power lines,” Stallworth said at the time. “When I realized we were gonna hit, it was too late.”