ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 204267
Last updated: 21 February 2020
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Date:13-JAN-2018
Time:07:00 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic BALL model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Kavanagh B-425
Owner/operator:International Balloon Flight Company (Australia)
Registration: VH-OKX
C/n / msn: B425-540
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 16
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Category:Accident
Location:Greta, near Cessnock, NSW -   Australia
Phase: Landing
Nature:Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Whittingham, NSW
Destination airport:Greta, NSW
Investigating agency: ATSB
Narrative:
At 05:40, a Kavanagh B-425 balloon registered VH-OKX, with 15 passengers and one pilot onboard, lifted off in conditions that were reported to be a light north-westerly wind, at about 5 kt. Three other balloons launched soon after OKX.
OKX maintained 40 ft above ground level (AGL) for about 5 minutes, then climbed to about 2,500 ft AGL. The balloon was then carried in an east-south-easterly direction over undulating country in the general direction of Maitland. The pilot stated the wind direction changed and the speed increased at about 0600, which was significantly earlier than he expected.
The balloon pilots communicated with each other regarding the wind speed and decided to land at the first suitable site. The predetermined landing areas were no longer available to them, as the wind change had taken them further east than they had planned. The area selected was a large open field that was not one of their normal landing areas.
The pilot of OKX reported that the balloon descended gradually over the next 15 to 20 minutes, and the balloon’s speed increased. He briefed the passengers for landing and advised them to rest their backs on the basket padding and hold on to the internal grab handles as per their previous briefing. The passengers maintained that position for the duration of the landing. The balloon approached the landing site about 4 km south of Greta, with a ground speed of about 20 kt.
As the balloon descended into the centre of the clearing (several feet above the surface), the pilot turned off the gas to the burners and opened the envelope deflation system. The balloon landed lightly with the basket upright, then the basket laid over onto its side and was dragged across the field by the balloon envelope acting as a sail in the wind.
The pilot stated that following the landing, the balloon changed direction slightly and was dragged about 40 m towards a large bush in the centre of the field. The basket subsequently contacted the bush, lifted up rapidly on its right side and landed back down heavily. It was then dragged a further 50-60 m before coming to rest (Figure 2). Due to the significant ground impact forces, one passenger was seriously injured and three others sustained minor injuries. All four passengers were taken to hospital for examination, with three being discharged on the same day.

Findings:
- Shortly after take-off, the balloon experienced strong winds and turbulent conditions, as predicted in the Bureau of Meteorology graphical area forecast and grid point winds and temperature forecast. Consequently, the balloon deviated from its intended flight path and landing area. Due to the adverse conditions, the pilot decided to land at the first suitable site, which was a clearing that was unfamiliar to him.
- Due to the wind conditions, the balloon landed with a significant forward velocity and was dragged for a considerable distance on its side by the balloon’s partially deflated envelope. As the basket was being dragged, it struck a large bush, forcing it upwards before impacting the ground with considerable force that resulted in injuries to four of the passengers.

Sources:

https://www.facebook.com/1638364093048282/posts/2016688455215842
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/several-injured-in-hot-air-balloon-incident-in-the-hunter-region-20180112-h0hsbl.html
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-13/two-women-hospitalised-in-hot-air-balloon-crash-in-the-hunter/9326710
http://www.theage.com.au/nsw/several-injured-in-hot-air-balloon-incident-in-the-hunter-region-20180112-h0hsbl
https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2018/aair/ao-2018-004/

Accident investigation:
cover
  
Investigating agency: ATSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year
Download report: Final report


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
13-Jan-2018 00:30 Iceman 29 Added
13-Jan-2018 00:32 Iceman 29 Updated [Aircraft type, Embed code]
13-Jan-2018 00:42 Iceman 29 Updated [Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
13-Jan-2018 00:44 Iceman 29 Updated [Narrative]
13-Jan-2018 01:56 Geno Updated [Time, Operator, Total occupants, Source]
13-Jan-2018 11:54 Iceman 29 Updated [Time, Embed code]
17-Jan-2018 12:21 Pineapple Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Damage]
23-Jan-2019 13:23 harro Updated [Operator, Total occupants, Narrative, Accident report, ]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description