PKBWL report – accident, baloon Cameron Z-160 (SP-BOK), Bór n. Nowy Targ, 19/03/2023

On 19 March 2023 at 12:51 hrs, a Cameron Z-160 balloon took off from the vicinity of the village of Szaflary for a commercial flight with seven passengers on board. The flight proceeded normally, and after around one hour, the pilot landed on a meadow some several hundred metres to south from the EPNT aerodrome. The landing took place in the immediate vicinity of a field road and a fenced plot of land. Since the aforementioned obstacles could have damaged the balloon’s envelope while it was being laid on the ground following its partial cooling, the pilot instructed four passengers to alight from the basket to – when outside – move and hold the balloon above the ground in a safer place. However, a gust of wind made it impossible for the persons outside the basket to hold the balloon. The balloon moved towards the tree group, came into contact with them and ascended above the tree tops. The pilot reacted by activating the rapid envelope deflation system, as a result of which the balloon hit hard on the ground. Two female passengers sustained serious injuries. The third female passenger and the pilot survived the accident without any injuries. The balloon was not damaged.

Causes and contributing factors:

1) The pilot’s haste in taking actions after landing.
2) The pilot’s order to four of the seven passengers to leave the balloon’s basket to move the balloon on the meadow.
3) Keeping the balloon in the flying condition after landing (the state of aerostatic balance).
4) Inaccurate diagnosis of the weather factor, based on weather forecasts and not on the assessment of actual weather conditions.
5) Failure to secure the balloon against movement or lift-off before some of the passengers left the basket.
6) Landing close to terrain obstacles

Read the report.

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