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Wind drags hot air balloon across ground, injuring passengers

SHARE Wind drags hot air balloon across ground, injuring passengers

HIGHLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Wind caught a hot air balloon as it landed and dragged its basket 100 yards across the ground Wednesday, injuring the pilot and at least 10 passengers.

Some passengers were thrown from the basket, Fire Chief Jim Crunk said, and at least six were taken to a hospital.

One of the passengers was given the balloon trip as a birthday present.

Pilot Eric Horton said the wind picked up as he started to land and he told the passengers to bend their knees and hold on to the rope handles very tightly.

"If I had to be put in the exact same position today, tomorrow or a month from now, I would do everything exactly as I did today, no second guessing on it whatsoever," said Horton, who is part-owner of the balloon company, Balloon Quest Inc.

The balloon landed in a rural area of Highland Township, about 50 miles northwest of Detroit. It had taken off from Fenton, about 20 miles north of the township.

The Federal Aviation Administration was called to investigate, sheriff's Sgt. Arthur Cockrell said.