2:47 PM PDT, July 16, 2021
A hot-air balloon pilot is dead after he became tangled in the gear underneath the basket and fell to the ground. Pilot Brian Boland, 72, had been in the air with a group of four passengers before falling to the ground in Bradford, Vermont.
Boland was a seasoned hot air balloon pilot, with a career having spanned 50 years and thousands of hours logged, WCAX reported. He was known in his industry for making and selling balloons, and often took on ambitious projects, the Associated Press reported.
He was also the owner of the private airport in Post Mills, Vermont, where the hot-air balloon containing himself and a group of four people took off late Thursday afternoon, the AP reported.
After a while, the balloon descended and touched down, but at the initial contact with the ground, the basket tipped and a passenger fell out, authorities said in a statement.
While the passenger who fell out was uninjured, Boland somehow became tangled in equipment, and when the balloon ascended again, he ended up trapped underneath the basket and fell to his death “from a height,” Vermont State Police said.
He was pronounced dead on scene.
The hot-air balloon continued on for another mile-and-a-half before it became caught in some trees in Piermont, New Hampshire. The remaining three passengers were then able to climb down to safety, police said.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are launching an investigation into the incident.