Balloon fest rescinds invitation to pilot in crash - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Balloon fest rescinds invitation to pilot in crash

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CLINTON, Mass. (WHDH) - A popular Maine balloon festival is rescinding its invitation to a pilot whose hot air balloon crashed into power lines in Massachusetts, injuring several people.

The balloon, dubbed the Raspberry Ripple, was scheduled to participate in the Great Falls Balloon Festival in Lewiston-Auburn next month. It's registered to Derald Young, who operates Damn Yankee Balloons in Dixfield, Maine. The business didn't immediately return a call.

The Federal Aviation Administration says four of the seven passengers suffered injuries over the weekend when the balloon crashed Saturday night into power lines while trying to land in the town of Clinton.

The passengers in the balloon were celebrating a birthday.

The balloon, the second largest in New England, hit some power lines near the intersection of Greely and Brook Streets, according to witnesses who said that they had seen the balloon in the area before over the past few weeks.

“He missed his landing site, went over the Wachusett Reservoir and was going to try to land at the school on 110, but he missed that site as well and he was intentionally trying to land in this yard,” Clinton Police Officer Ed Jeffrey said.

Out of the six people in the balloon, at least three suffered serious burns.

Dennis Macdonald rushed to help passengers, fearing the worst and bringing ice and towels to help.

"There was nobody unconscious. They were all adults. I mean, everybody, just a lot of walking around. A lot of confusion," he said.

Ronald Raymond captured video of the moment of impact, where the balloon hit power lines right above his head. The back window of his car was blown out by power lines.

"I could have been five or six feet away from 15,000 volts. If that thing hit me, I would have been gone," Raymond said.

The lines were downed and officials worked to secure the area. Some homes in Clinton lost power, but most were just relieved that everybody survived.

The F.A.A. is investigating the cause.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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