3 Hot Air Balloons Crashed Near Jackson Hole, Injuring More Than a Dozen Tourists
The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the incident.
More than a dozen people were injured after three hot air balloons crashed to the ground near Jackson Hole, Wyo., on Monday, the city’s fire chief confirmed Travel + Leisure.
The hot air balloons carrying 36 people in total were sightseeing near the base of the Teton Mountain Range at about 8:10 a.m. local time on Monday when they were suddenly blown from the sky, Jackson Hole Fire Chief Brady Hansen told T+L. The three hot air balloons were found within a few hundred yards of each other.
“They really were just a victim of... an unforecasted weather event with a microburst downdraft wind that really drove all three balloons into the ground at a very high rate of speed,” Hansen said. “They all individually crashed at a pretty high rate of speed due to being out of control with this high wind they experienced.”
Eleven patients were transported by ambulance to a local hospital while one patient was taken by helicopter to a level 1 trauma center, Hansen said. Several other victims who were “banged up” later took themselves to the hospital.
Hansen said the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the crash.
“I couldn’t believe how beautiful everything was and then we were in hell a few minutes later," Texas resident Clinton Phillips, who was in one of the hot air balloons at the time, told the Jackson Hole News & Guide. "It was crazy."
A video of the crash posted by the Jackson Hole News & Guide showed the balloons all flying separate from each other before cutting to them toppled over in the grass with stunned tourists standing nearby crying and buckled over.
Hansen told T+L the balloons are a regular sight in the area and “fly pretty consistently every morning.”