Norfolk

Hot air balloon passenger injured climbing out of basket

Virgin balloon Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The passenger was injured as he climbed out of a Virgin balloon after it landed

A passenger suffered a "serious injury" as he stepped from a hot air balloon basket to help the ground crew, an air accident report said.

The man missed his footing on the basket steps and suffered a leg injury, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) found.

It happened after the balloon landed near Attleborough, Norfolk, on 12 May.

A Virgin Balloon Flights spokeswoman said: "The safety of our passengers is always paramount."

The Cameron A-400 balloon had "made a gentle landing with the balloon and basket upright" at Hargham Hall with 16 passengers on board.

Four were asked to leave the basket and help ground crew "hold the crown line" - the rope used to stabilise the balloon as it deflates.

Image copyright AAIB
Image caption The AAIB found the passenger got his foot stuck in one of the inset steps on the side of the basket
Image copyright Google
Image caption The accident happened near Hargham Hall, Norfolk, in May

However, one passenger, who suffered from arthritis, stumbled, resulting in a "serious injury", the report said.

The man had "felt comfortable to exit the balloon unaided and assist with ground tasks", it added.

The Virgin Balloon Flights spokeswoman said pilots gave safety briefings before every flight.

"We were obviously concerned that one of our passengers suffered an injury after landing," she said.

"Had our pilot been informed of the passenger's medical condition beforehand as requested, he would not have invited him to climb out unassisted to help the crew."

Procedures had now changed, the AAIB report concluded, with "ground crew on hand to assist all passengers with disembarkation".

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