Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hot-air balloon burst into flames plunges into RV park

Two people are dead after a hot-air balloon burst into flames during takeoff from its Surrey launch pad Friday evening -- then plunged into a nearby trailer park.

According to John Kageorge, spokesman for Fantasy Balloon Charters, the pilot heard a pop while filling the balloon and asked all the passengers to get out. Soon afterwards, flames appeared, he said.

Passenger Diana Rutledge, 56, said the trouble began within 30 seconds of the 12 passengers hopping aboard. She said as they left, the balloon rocketed into the air and the flames grew.

She later watched the flaming balloon drift over Hazelmere RV Park and Campground, the two passengers still inside.

"A piece of debris fell and a motorhome exploded and then another motorhome exploded," Rutledge said.
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