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Friday, October 10, 2008

In Hot Air Balloon News

posted by on October 10 at 17:42 PM

The AP reports:

BERNALILLO, N.M. A hot air balloon crashed into power lines and burst into flames Friday during Albuquerque’s annual balloon fiesta, throwing both men on board to the ground and killing one of them.

According to the local NBC affiliate KOB 4:

Friday’s fatal balloon accident is not the first for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, which began in 1972… During the 1998 fiesta, a woman was killed when a balloon plowed into power lines, two men died in 1993 when their balloon hit power lines, and two men died during the 1990 fiesta when their balloon crashed into power lines.

KOB 4 also has photos of the incident on their site taken by witnesses Mike and Shaunie Briggs of Winters, California—including this one, the most ghastly/striking/artful thing I’ve seen all day, in part because it makes whimsy (the balloon in the distance covered in sea creatures) look evil (never trust whimsy):

balloonaccident.JPG

Jesus Christ. Condolences to all, and nice photo, Mike and Shaunie.

RSS icon Comments

1

Powerlines should be buried, period. Don't tell me it's not feasible. I'm no engineer, but if we can bury our shit pipes, we can bury our powerlines.

Posted by nightlifejitters | October 10, 2008 6:04 PM
2

The hot air balloon news is always the same.

Posted by Jason | October 10, 2008 6:07 PM
3

That's bound to put a damper on things.

Posted by Catman | October 10, 2008 6:13 PM
4

the balloon in the background does make it look really creepy and sad

Posted by 4f...sake | October 10, 2008 6:24 PM
5

I'd have been happier if y'all had just lied and said it was on the set of a new action movie from Japan.

Posted by Eric Arrr | October 10, 2008 6:28 PM
6

@1: Alternatively, we could ban such a dangerous and reckless activity as hot air ballooning.

Posted by Mr Fuzzy | October 10, 2008 6:35 PM
7

Ehh, that seems to happen too often, is there not someplace they can hold the festival where there aren't any nearby power lines? Or does that not exist in the US anymore?

Posted by bob | October 10, 2008 6:40 PM
8

The balloon in the background looks like something out of Jim Woodring's Frank paintings: http://mindlessones.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/want-41.jpg

Posted by Xilip | October 10, 2008 6:56 PM
9


The reason people do stuff like ballooning is to brag about the thrill and get points for staring danger in the face.

The price is that it is really dangerous.

Can't have it both ways, and I hope no regular person on the highway was hurt by those "Wild Hogs".

Posted by John Bailo | October 10, 2008 8:05 PM
10

If hot air ballooning had a high rate of fatality most of the slog commenters woulda long ago combusted over their keyboards.

Posted by Bob | October 10, 2008 8:54 PM
11

What nice? What's nice about the photos? It might be fascinating, but let's for a minute watch our comments for the sake of the deceased family & friends.

Posted by nbxix | October 10, 2008 9:39 PM
12

yeah, i'm with @11 - it's sick to congratulate the photographers for a "nice photo."
it's kinda sick to post it in the first place. someone just died in that photo.

Posted by onion | October 10, 2008 10:48 PM
13

i'm a native "albuquerquean" thats lived in seattle for a few years now. growing up with the balloon fiesta i can firmly state that it is one of the stupidest, most dangerous, and tackiest events in the country. purely because by definition it must be a huge, dense cluster of balloons in a metropolitan area. i'm sure the experience of farting around with some new age-y menopausal santa fe...(i'm from albuquerque)or worse...out of state group of disposable income douchebags must be exhilarating out on the high desert by yourselves...but having a huge group of balloons bouncing into eachother and powerlines and mountain ridges just because it makes the city look cool and brings in money...its tacky and irresponsible.

and the links to the recent accidents in the 90s listed here in this post? there were PLENTY more stupid tragedies that went down before albuquerque learned how to work computers and record events for the country to read. a neighbor of mine had two men fall to their death from a burning balloon into her back yard as she was playing by herself after school in the 80s. but no one outside of the city really heard about that.

the rub? this incident will change absolutely NOTHING about how this stupid thing is run.

good for you, albuquerque.

Posted by dave | October 11, 2008 1:33 AM
14

I am good friends with some balloonists and that community is really tight. This is very sad news. Avoiding power lines is pretty obvious, but sometimes the weather does not behave with that hobby.

Posted by Patrick | October 11, 2008 2:38 AM
15

Eh, it's like mountain climbing. It's dangerous and exciting, and exciting because it's dangerous, and people are going to die doing it. At least the balloonists don't require expensive search and rescue efforts.

Posted by Tiktok | October 11, 2008 8:49 AM
16

@13, Dave, don't be a douche. Walking outside on a crisp fall morning, cup of coffee in hand, to see the clear blue sky filled with a thousand hot air balloons is a wonderful thing to behold. The Fiesta brings a lot of cash into a relatively poor state and the Special Shapes Mass Ascension is fantastic.

Thousands of flights are made during the week of the Fiesta. If one balloon crashes, what's that, a

Posted by blank12357 | October 11, 2008 9:09 AM
17

Posted by blank12357 | October 11, 2008 9:12 AM
18

Ok, Slog, I get it, don't like my "less than" sign do you? Grr.

...what's that a less than 0.05% accident rate. Thats not bad.

Ok, I'm done now.

Posted by blank12357 | October 11, 2008 9:15 AM
19

sorry, blank 123457, but as someone that grew up there, has tons of family there, and can trace his lineage there back for 300 years, i can safely say...you know what looks great on a crisp fall day? new mexico. all by itself. the sunrise against the bosque juxtaposed on the other side by the gorgeous sandia mountains.

you know what doesnt look good? the goddamned macys day parade times 10 stuffed in the middle of it.

Posted by dave | October 11, 2008 11:26 AM
20

That balloon must have provoked that balloon somehow.

Posted by eric | October 12, 2008 12:07 AM
21

argh... Typing posts on an iPhone doesn't make for easy editing. What a drag.

Posted by eric | October 12, 2008 12:09 AM
22

Everyone has a sport or sports that they enjoy. ALL sports come with some kind of risk.I think paying professional football players is stupid, but to each their own.Which by the way they can be hurt seriously, or ever die.We all know the risks and we all have are reason`s for taking those risk to live life to the fullest.You only live once and are all going to die some day.

Posted by Patti | October 13, 2008 3:12 PM
23

Well I wonder what the accident rate for people who leave there house and making it home is. I hear that there quite the rate on people getting ran over by a buss while riding there skate board is pretty good. At least I know of 2 in the local area. I've had a trip set up for hot air ballooning and have not yet got to go. All I can say is everytime you leave the house and stay at home for that fact you're taking risks. Hope these kinds of pictures don't stop people from enjoying lifes experiances.

Posted by onebadjesus | October 14, 2008 9:13 AM
24

Well I wonder what the accident rate for people who leave there house and making it home is. I hear that there quite the rate on people getting ran over by a buss while riding there skate board is pretty good. At least I know of 2 in the local area. I've had a trip set up for hot air ballooning and have not yet got to go. All I can say is everytime you leave the house and stay at home for that fact you're taking risks. Hope these kinds of pictures don't stop people from enjoying lifes experiances.

Posted by onebadjesus | October 14, 2008 9:13 AM
25

My father is a hot air balloon pilot. In a hot air balloon you are 100% in the mercy of the wind. No one knows what happened and we may never know. But it is sad to see people with so much negativity out there. Someone has died and another is injuried have some respect! Also, if you do not like balloons then leave town during an event, or do not look up in the sky. There are many things I do not like but I do not express my negativity onto those that do those activities. If someone chooses to ride in a balloon they are well aware of the risks, they are informed by the pilot. It amazes me that in the world we live in today that people have to complain so much cause they do not like something and those of us who enjoy it can not cause someone else got thier way. Why can't people just let people do what they enjoy, if you do not like it then do not go in a balloon or do whatever it is that one does not like. Oh and not to mention why waste time and effort to complain about something, if you do not like balloons then do not talk about them. There are certain people out there that have no other interests in life other than to complain and bitch, so get off your ass and get a hobby!

Posted by Lucy | October 15, 2008 10:19 AM
26

*High Five* to Lucy !

Posted by Michelle | October 15, 2008 9:20 PM

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