Spectacular visuals taken from inside a hot air balloon captured the moments leading up to its crash-landing on the rooftop of a Melbourne apartment on Wednesday morning.
In the video filmed by passenger Jayde Magookin, others can be seen crouching in the basket as the balloon passes through rooftops and trees before making a noisy descent through branches.
The balloon, on its first flight over the city, draped itself over two roofs. The gondola lands in the yard and the parking lot after the emergency descent with 12 people on board.
Emergency services were called to a property in Elwood, and Fire Rescue Victoria High Angle Rescue Technicians were brought in to remove the deflated balloon.
No one was reported injured in the incident.
Pilot Nick Brau, director of Liberty Balloon Flights, said the balloon, although brand new, would not fly properly. It flew for about half an hour before it started having trouble getting airborne properly.
Shaken by his first accident in 27 years as a hot air balloon pilot, Mr Brau said he was not sure what was wrong. “The valve that releases hot air from the top, which we use to maneuver the balloon, was not sealing properly,” he told 3AW radio.
“So I was losing a lot of heat and it was hard to keep the ball in the air, that’s why I was flying low and aiming for the beach, but we didn’t go about 200 yards.”
The matter will be investigated by the Australian Transport Safety Board.
Mr Magookin, 34, told the BBC he felt there was something wrong with their journey after the hot air balloon, which was part of a six-person fleet, took a different route from the others. His suspicions proved true, as he and others felt the ball “graze the treetops” and “just miss power lines”.
Recovering from a recent heart attack, Mr Magookin told the outlet that although the crash was ‘terrifying’ he could now laugh with others as he responded with an enthusiastic ‘yes’ to the idea of flying again in another hot air balloon.