Man dies in hot air balloon crash after it 'burst into a fireball

Man dies in hot air balloon crash after the aircraft ‘burst into a fireball mid-air and dropped like a stone’

A man has died in a horrifying incident that saw a hot air balloon burst into a fireball in mid-air before plunging to the ground. 

The balloon crashed into trees off Holt Fleet Road, near Ombersley Court, Worcester, at around 6.20am. 

Pictures show the balloon hundreds of feet in the air moments before it plummeted towards earth.

The incident happened as visitors flocked to the first ever Worcester Balloon Festival at the city’s racecourse.

The event was previously called off last month due to bad weather before being rearranged to run from Friday to Saturday evening.

A man has died in a horrifying incident that saw a hot air balloon burst into a fireball

A spokesperson for the Worcester Balloon Festival 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.’

Witnesses described seeing a ‘fireball’ and heard ‘screaming’ coming from the balloon as it plummeted to the ground.

‘There were lots of balloons in the sky because it was clear and sunny despite being so early,’ one witness said. 

‘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.

The balloon burst into flames before plummeting towards earth at 6.20am this morning

‘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: ‘We went out to an incident involving a hot air balloon in Ombersley on the Holt Fleet Road.

‘We had a call at 6.23am, crews from Worcester, Droitwich, Wyre Forest, Evesham and Bromsgrove.

‘We have left the scene now, but we have left it to the police.’

The tragedy has been reported to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) who tweeted they were ‘deploying a team to the site’

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