STORY: The hot air balloon from Liberty Balloon Flights was carrying 12 passengers when its pilot struggled to get it in the air properly due to a malfunction he could not explain, according to local media.
Eyewitness video filmed by passenger Jayde Magookin and obtained by Reuters showed his fellow flight mates crouching as the balloon came down over roofs and trees, narrowly missing powerlines in the southern Melbourne suburb of Elwood. No one was injured in the balloon’s emergency descent.
Magookin told Reuters once the pilot said to "brace", sheer panic set in.
"The last thing you want to hear is anything like that from a pilot, especially in a hot air balloon with no, you know, seatbelts, no parachutes,” said Magookin, a Melbourne personal trainer, who was on the scenic flight with his wife.
"So the moment sort of set in straight away once we hit that first building, my heart didn't stop the whole I think nine minutes until we crashed on the ground."
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said an investigation will be carried out on the cause of the crash.