Hot Air Balloon Explosion in Temecula, Passengers Injured

Hot Air Balloon Explosion in Temecula, Passengers Injured

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UPDATE (11/10 4pm)

An explosion aboard the hot air balloon was reported shortly after it had made a safe landing, according to Riverside County fire officials. Four of the five passengers were injured, three of whom suffered major injuries.

The airship made a routine flight and did not experience any problems upon landing. As the pilot dismantled the balloon, a pilot light that had not turned-off completely, sparked a bit of propane vapor causing the explosion, said Denni Barrett of the Temecula Valley Balloon Association. All propane tanks had already been shut off.

"There was an immediate flash of the vapor, but no fire," said Barrett.

The three passengers and the pilot were transported to local medical facilities. The passengers were treated and released, the pilot was kept overnight for observation.



TEMECULA (FOX 11/CNS) - A hot air balloon exploded over Temecula Wine Country today, and one person was burned and two others also badly hurt as it crashed near vineyards, Riverside County Fire Department spokesman Mark Annas said.

The balloon, with five people on board, crash-landed at the corner of Vino Way and Calle Cabernet at about 7:44 a.m., Riverside County Fire Department spokesman Mark Annas said.

One person was taken to a regional burn center, and the extent of that person's injuries was not disclosed. Two other people had what were described as major injuries.

Two more people were taken to a hospital with what firefighters moderate to minor injuries, Annas said.

The explosion happened in the gondola and will be investigated by the Federal Aviation Agency, FAA Public Affairs Manager Ian Gregor said.

The National Transportation Safety Board will also look into what happened, Annas said.

The crash was in Temecula Wine Country, amidst large estates and grapevines. Several companies offer balloon excursions and wine picnics during cooler months, when hot air balloons can fly.

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