Monday, January 25, 2021

Lindstrand LBL-77A, N477LB: Fatal accident occurred January 23, 2021 in Rio Rancho, New Mexico

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Albuquerque, New Mexico

Location: Rio Rancho, NM
Accident Number: WPR21LA158
Date & Time: January 23, 2021, 09:00 Local 
Registration: N477LB
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On January 23, 2021, about 0900 mountain standard time, a Lindstrand 77A balloon, N477LB, was involved in an accident near Rio Rancho, New Mexico. The pilot was not injured, and the passenger sustained fatal injuries. The balloon was not damaged. The balloon was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot reported that prior to the accident flight, she performed 3 takeoff and landings for currency. The passenger subsequently boarded the balloon, and after an uneventful flight the pilot briefed the passenger for landing. During the landing descent, the basket of the balloon became briefly entangled in tall vegetation before it continued to descend and land hard. The balloon became airborne again, and a short time later, the passenger was ejected from the basket, about 25 ft above ground level. The pilot stated that she landed the balloon uneventfully and was met by the passenger shortly after she secured the balloon.

The pilot and passenger then hiked across a ravine to a nearby ridge and contacted their crew with the location of the balloon. At that time the passenger was alert; however, a short time later fell ill, and the pilot called 911. The passenger was attended to by emergency personnel before he was transported to the hospital. During transport, the passenger succumbed to his injuries.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N477LB
Model/Series: 77A 
Aircraft Category: Balloon
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KAEG,5837 ft msl
Observation Time: 09:47 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 13 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 6°C /0°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 2000 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 170°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.93 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Rio Rancho, NM 
Destination: Rio Rancho, NM

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: None
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 35.368302,-106.67298 (est)

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290.

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