Man Reportedly Dies After Falling From Hot Air Balloon: ‘A Loud Bang’

(Photo by ULISES RUIZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Ilan Hulkower Contributor
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A man plunged to his death after falling from a hot air balloon as it flew Monday morning over Melbourne, Australia, 9News reported.

Police located the unnamed man’s body in a residential area in Preston, according to the Australian news outlet. (RELATED: 4 Killed, 1 Critically Injured After Hot Air Balloon Crashes In Arizona)

“My brother heard like a loud bang, almost like a large item falling in your house,” a witness told 9News. “And it wasn’t until we heard all the sirens that we came out.” The witness also told 9News that if the man fell another 164 feet in either direction, he “could have fallen straight through the roof” of a residential house.

The balloon successfully landed, and the rest of the pilots and passengers were unharmed, the outlet reported.

“Passengers and the pilot are understandably traumatized by this tragedy and the operator is arranging psychological support and counseling for all affected,” said a spokesperson for the National Commercial Hot Air Ballooning Industry and Australian Ballooning Federation, according to 9News. “Hot air balloon baskets are designed with safety in mind, specifically to prevent passengers from falling out accidentally or from any accidental exit. As this matter is now subject to investigations by Victoria Police, WorkSafe Victoria, Air Transport Safety Bureau and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) it is not appropriate to comment further.”

Police are not treating the death as suspicious at this time and are preparing a report for the coroner after speaking with the balloon’s pilot and passengers, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

Recreational hot air balloons typically fly between 500 to 3,000 feet above ground, whereas commercial hot air balloons can, on average, fly between 3,000 to 7,000 feet above ground, according to Seattle Ballooning.