Aviation safety investigations & reports

Colt 240, VH-NMS, 48km west of Alice Springs NT, 15 April 1986

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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Following a 30 minute flight the pilot landed the balloon and the passengers waited in the basket for the retrieve vehicles to arrive to effect a passenger changeover. During this period a strong wind blew up, caught the balloon and dragged it towards trees. The pilot advised the passengers to adopt a crouch position and operated the burner to apply heat to raise the balloon. The balloon climbed steeply, cleared the trees then descended rapidly, bounced and the basket began oscillating about 30 degrees either side of vertical. The pilot was thrown out of the basket and 10 of the 11 passengers received injuries, although all remained in the basket. The balloon continued to be blown along the ground and one of the passengers climbed into the pilot's section of the basket and applied heat, this took the balloon aloft. The pilot chased the balloon and after one of the retrieve vehicles located him he was able to contact the balloon by radio and relay instructions on the use of the burner to the passenger. The balloon landed about 3.5 km from the position it had been waiting to changeover the passengers.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 15 April 1986   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 705    
Location: 48km west of Alice Springs    
State: Northern Territory   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 04 November 1986   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Serious  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Thunder & Colt Balloons  
Aircraft model 240  
Aircraft registration VH-NMS  
Type of operation Ballooning  
Damage to aircraft Minor  
Departure point 8km west of Jay Creek NT  
Departure time 0705  
Destination N/A