Thursday, March 29, 2018

Ultramagic N-300, N64EX: Accident occurred March 28, 2018 in Cave Creek, Maricopa County, Arizona

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Scottsdale

Hot Air Expeditions: http://registry.faa.gov/N64EX


NTSB Identification: GAA18CA185
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 28, 2018 in Cave Creek, AZ
Aircraft: ULTRAMAGIC SA N 300, registration: N64EX

NTSB investigators will use data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator, and will not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Hot air balloon landed on a road, tree branch punctured the fabric. During attempt to move ballon, the balloon caught fire.

Date: 28-MAR-18
Time: 15:15:00Z
Regis#: N64EX
Aircraft Make: ULTRAMAGIC
Aircraft Model: N 300
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: DESTROYED
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
Aircraft Operator: HOT AIR EXPEDITIONS
City: PHOENIX
State: ARIZONA






CAVE CREEK, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Authorities say a hot air balloon carrying 13 people crashed and caught fire Wednesday morning in the desert outside Phoenix, igniting a small brush fire but causing no injuries.

Phoenix fire Capt. Jake Van Hook says it started "only a small amount of fire," which crews quickly extinguished.

A witness video shows flames and a large plume of black smoke in an area of dry brush as several people on a dirt path look on.

The crash occurred just before 8:30 a.m. in the area of  36th Street and Carefree Highway in Cave Creek, just north of the Phoenix metro area, according to Maricopa County Sheriff's officials.

Preliminary reports from the National Transportation Safety Board say it appears the incident started when a tree branch punctured the balloon's colorful outer covering, known as the "envelope."

"That branch caught fire," NTSB spokesman Chris O'Neil said.

O'Neil said all 13 people safely evacuated the balloon's basket, which then caught fire. The group attempted to put out the blaze with fire extinguishers, but it consumed the basket.

The NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration are both investigating. It's not yet clear if the pilot was trying to land when the puncture occurred.

"The sequence (of events) and the mechanics will become clearer as we go on," O'Neil said. "It's fortunate that no one was hurt."

No injuries were reported to the 13 people on board and no other information was immediately available, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.

A phone message from The Associated Press left with the company the operated the hot air balloon tour,  Hot Air Expeditions in Phoenix, was not immediately returned, but the company issued a statement Thursday afternoon.

According to that statement, the fire started after the balloon had landed and the passengers had left the basket.

The company said the pilot, who has more than 30 years of experience, was landing after a "standard, safe hot air balloon flight."

"The landing, which was also a safe, calm, and routine landing, was facilitated as well," the statement explained. "The balloon landed in a desert area, near a tree. ... Once all passengers had exited the hot air balloon, it was observed that a branch of the nearby tree had caught fire, which was in turn touching the envelope of the hot air balloon, causing the hot air balloon envelope to catch fire, ultimately followed by the hot air balloon basket."  

Taking issue with the description of the incident as a crash, Hot Air Expeditions said its passengers were not "in harms way prior to, during, or after the incident, and were all in good spirits." 

Original article can be found here ➤  http://www.azfamily.com





PHOENIX (AP) — Authorities say a hot air balloon carrying 13 people crashed and caught fire Wednesday morning in the desert outside Phoenix, igniting a small brush fire but causing no injuries.

Phoenix fire Capt. Jake Van Hook says it started “only a small amount of fire,” which crews quickly extinguished.

A witness video shows flames and a large plume of black smoke in an area of dry brush as several people on a dirt path look on.

The crash occurred just before 8:30 a.m. just north of the Phoenix metro area, according to Maricopa County Sheriff’s officials.

Preliminary reports from the National Transportation Safety Board say it appears the incident started when a tree branch punctured the balloon’s colorful outer covering, known as the “envelope.”

“That branch caught fire,” NTSB spokesman Chris O’Neil said.

O’Neil said all 13 people safely evacuated the balloon’s basket, which then caught fire. The group attempted to put out the blaze with fire extinguishers, but it consumed the basket.

The NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration are both investigating. It’s not yet clear if the pilot was trying to land when the puncture occurred.

“The sequence (of events) and the mechanics will become clearer as we go on,” O’Neil said. “It’s fortunate that no one was hurt.”

No injuries were reported to the 13 people on board and no other information was immediately available, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.

A search of a tail number in FAA online records shows the hot air balloon is registered to Hot Air Expeditions in Phoenix. A phone message left with a Hot Air Expeditions employee was not immediately returned.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://whdh.com

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