Japanese man killed in hot air balloon plunge

An elderly Japanese man plunged to his death in a lake after falling out of a hot air balloon, police said Monday.

Takuo Hayasaka, 70, was thrown from the basket when the balloon suddenly lost altitude over Lake Yanaka in eastern Japan on Sunday morning.

Two other people aboard, a 46-year-old woman and a 68-year-old man, were uninjured.

The survivors told police their balloon briefly touched the surface of the lake before regaining altitude. They said their companion had tipped out of the basket before it started ascending again, a police officer said.

All three were licensed balloon pilots, but none was wearing a life jacket, Jiji Press reported.

The man's body was found in the lake five hours later. The cause of his death was not immediately known.