The safety of the balloon industry is again questioned in the wake of a hot air balloon crash near Cappadocia, Turkey today that killed two, officials announced. Some 23 other tourists from Brazil, Spain and Argentina have been injured as the hot air balloon hit another’s basket mid-air while drifting over volcanic rock formations.
This is the second fatal incident for Turkey’s hot air balloon industry in the region – active for about 10 years. When I travelled to Cappadocia 14 years ago, there were no balloons for hire, at least none that I could see in sight.
Another major hot air balloon crash took place in Egypt this year when a hot air balloon caught fire, killing 19 tourists as it hit the ground.
Green Prophet’s Laurie was recently on a hot air balloon ride in Turkey, where she took some stunning photos.
Hot air ballooning is a gentle way to see our world’s beauty from above, but better safety standards might better be put into place to avoid more accidents as this mode of transport becomes more popular.
But let’s put the crash into proportion. Every day we hear of a bus crash, car accident or biking incident that kills tourists.
In the recent Turkish accident most of the surviving victims suffered bone breaks. One witness E. Wayne Ross riding in another hot air balloon told CTV news that the crash happened early in the morning, as some 100 hot air balloons took off to the skies.
“We could hear the radio chatter and we knew something was happening. There was a frantic urgent transmission: ‘Release your parachute! Release your parachute!” said Ross, whose balloon was some 200 metres (yards) away from the vessel that crashed.
“It was probably some 300 metres in the air and it descended increasingly rapidly to the ground,” he said in a telephone interview. “There was a large tear in the fabric, probably some 10 to 15 metres long.”
After the crash he reported one person on the ground with others inside the basket as ambulances arrived to the scene. Before the crash his wife had told him that she thought the balloons were travelling too close to each other.
The owner of the hot air balloon company Anatolian Balloons said one of the victims died from a heart attack, and the second while being treated at hospital.
Above is illustration image of hot air ballooning over Cappadocia.