Horror after person dies following fall from hot air balloon over Melbourne

Peta Rasdien
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Reports a person has fallen from a hot air balloon in Preston.

A man has died after falling nearly 460m from a hot air balloon onto a residential street in Melbourne.

Emergency services were called around 7.30am after the man’s body was found on Albert Street in Preston.

The street has been cordoned off by police.

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A neighbour has told Nine News they heard a loud bang before sirens began wailing.

“I actually only heard the sirens, a lot of them,” she said.

“My brother heard like a loud bang, almost like something like a large item falling in your house. And it wasn’t until we heard all the sirens that we came out.”

The balloon involved made an emergency landing soon after in nearby Yarra Bend Park.

The balloon had taken off from CT Barling Reserve Resevoir at 7am, about ten minutes later a passenger fell from the basket, without any warning to the pilot.

Police are interviewing witnesses to work out what went wrong.
Police are interviewing witnesses to work out what went wrong. Credit: 7NEWS/supplied

In a joint statement, the National Commercial Hot Air Ballooning Industry and the Australian Ballooning Federation extended their condolences to the man’s family and said the passengers and the pilot were traumatised by the tragedy.

The operator was arranging psychological support and counselling for all affected.

“Hot air balloon baskets are designed with safety in mind, specifically to prevent passengers from falling out accidentally or from any accidental exit,” the statement read.

“As this matter is now subject to investigations by Victoria Police, WorkSafe Victoria, Air Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) it is not appropriate to comment further.”

Police will prepare a report for the coroner following the death which is not being treated as suspicious.

Emergency landings of hot air balloons are not uncommon in Melbourne.

In April 2022, a hot air balloon on its maiden flight with 13 passengers and a pilot on board was forced to land among buildings in Elwood in Melbourne’s southeast.

Three people suffered minor injuries.

Another two people were injured on New Year’s Eve in 2021 during a hard landing in a field near Lilydale, east of Melbourne, in which the balloon’s basket was dragged 30 metres.

A fuel leak also sparked a fire on a hot air balloon flying over Victoria on Boxing Day in 2018, with one of its 15 passengers cutting their hand after the basket landed in trees.

Lifeline 13 11 14

beyondblue 1300 22 4636

— with AAP

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