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25th Jun 2023

Man dies in hot air balloon horror as witnesses watched the craft explode in ‘fireball’

Steve Hopkins

‘My wife heard terrible screaming and then silence’

A man has died in a horrific hot air balloon crash after the craft burst into flames mid-air on Sunday morning.

Witnesses described seeing a “fireball” and heard “screaming” coming from the balloon as it plummeted to the ground in Worcestershire, around 6.20am.

Pictures show the balloon hundreds of feet in the air moments before it crashing into trees off Holt Fleet Road, near Ombersley Court.

This weekend saw hundreds enjoying the first ever Worcester Balloon Festival at the city’s racecourse.

The event was cancelled last month due to bad weather and was rearranged to take place from Friday to Saturday evening.

It is unclear if the balloon which crashed had taken part in the festival.

An event spokesperson said: “There was an incident this morning, under investigation, it wasn’t the festival it was independent.

“The festival finished last night, it was not connected to the festival.”

Firefighters, paramedics and police rushed to the scene but were unable to save the male pilot who was declared dead at the scene.

A West Mercia Police spokesperson said: “At 6.20am this morning police received a call a hot air balloon had deflated and fallen to the ground near the A449 at Ombersley.

“The balloon fell to the ground in a field off Holt Fleet Road, near Ombersley Court. “Emergency services attended and unfortunately a man was pronounced dead by paramedics.

“The Air Accident Investigation Branch will now carry out an investigation.”

One witness said: “There were lots of balloons in the sky because it was clear and sunny despite being so early.

“Suddenly there was a flash and what looked like a fireball coming from a blue balloon and it just dropped like a stone.

“My wife heard terrible screaming and then silence.

“We called the emergency services but had difficulty getting through on the 999 number because it was down.

“We finally got through but it was just too high for anyone to survive. It was a terrible thing to see.”

A spokesperson for Hereford and Worcestershire Fire Service confirmed firefighters attended the scene and that the accident had been reported to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), who had also sent a team to the scene.

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