Hot air balloon crash kills four in Slovenia

Scene after balloon crash, 23 Aug 12 The balloon's charred gondola can be seen after an excursion ended in tragedy

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A hot air balloon has crashed and caught fire in Slovenia, killing four people and injuring at least 21 others, including children.

The crash happened near the capital, Ljubljana. Ten people had to be resuscitated at the scene and eight remain critically ill, Slovenia's Dnevnik news website reports.

Reports say the balloon came down during a storm early on Thursday.

Some foreigners are reported to be among the injured.

There were 32 people on board, including a pilot and co-pilot, reports say.

Slovenia map

The balloon was still ablaze when rescuers reached it in a field.

It is not clear whether the fire started before the crash, nor is it clear what caused the incident.

Local medics quoted by the AFP news agency say a British woman and three Italians were among the injured.

Other reports said a second hot air balloon had landed in the area safely.

One witness quoted by the Slovenian news website siol.net said a storm was raging at the time and "the balloons tried to land but were thrown about by turbulence - that's when one of them caught fire".

A lightly injured crash survivor, Tomaz Simec, told Slovenian TV that "we were landing, but I think the speed was too high for landing so we hit the ground, bounced off once and hit it again. We held on, but five of us fell out".

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