Nine injured as hot air balloon crashes twice in Austrian Alps

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KIRCHSCHLAG IN DER BUCKLIGEN WELT, Austria – A hot air balloon crashed twice on the eastern edge of the Alps in Austria on Saturday, injuring nine people as a hard landing apparently bounced the pilot and co-pilot out of the basket and threw several passengers. in the sky on their own, authorities said.

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Sonja Kellner, from the Lower Austrian Red Cross, told APA news agency that two of the occupants were seriously injured in the accident in Bucklige Welt, an area named for its hilly landscape. They were found with two other slightly injured passengers in Untereck.

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The other five passengers were found with minor injuries near Stang, about 5 kilometers (3 miles) away.

The Kurier daily reports that the accident happened as the balloon was about to land in a meadow. It apparently descended too quickly and bounced off the ground, knocking four people out of the basket, including the pilot and co-pilot. They were dragged a few meters (yards) before the balloon took off again with its remaining five passengers.

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Yet the pilot was able to explain over the phone to passengers in the sky how to make an emergency landing. The ball eventually came to rest in a forest, Kurier reported.

The two seriously injured passengers were airlifted by helicopter to local hospitals.

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