Sunday, August 07, 2022

Ultramagic M-56C, N801UM: Accident occurred August 04, 2022 in Indianola, Warren County, Iowa

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Moines, Iowa

Balloon struck powerline on descent. 

Date: 04-AUG-22
Time: 12:30:00Z
Regis#: N801UM
Aircraft Make: ULTRAMAGIC
Aircraft Model: M-56C
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: APPROACH (APR)
Operation: 91
State: IOWA

WARREN COUNTY, Iowa — For the second time during this year's National Balloon Classic, a hot air balloon hit a powerline.

First responders were called to the area of Highway 69 and McGregor at about 7:30 a.m. Thursday morning.

Apparently, the hot air balloon pilot did not see the power lines he crashed into. No injuries were reported. He was the only one on the balloon.

The balloon was still tangled in the power line at around 9 a.m. Thursday.

Multiple MidAmerican Energy Co. crews were on scene.

Karen Sorensen saw it all unfold.

It happened just feet from her backyard while she was live-streaming the balloons in flight.

"You could see this bright spark of light and then it pops. Then there were a whole bunch more pops, like fireworks going off. And about that time, you could see him caught up in it," Sorensen said.

The pilot was able to get out of the balloon basket without injury.

National Balloon Classic officials say there are safety procedures they follow when a balloon crashes into power lines. They do not approach the scene until the power has been shut off.

"We have meetings leading up to this with the fire chief, police chief, the sheriff, Mid American Energy and emergency management for Warren County. We go over these situations well in advance. We have scenarios we work through and are prepared for when it happens," said Bill Clemons, National Balloon Classic.

In an unrelated incident, three people were seriously burned when a hot air balloon hit a power line last week. Those people are still recovering from their injuries.

A fourth person on the balloon was not seriously injured.

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