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Man killed in hot-air ballooning accident was clutching cable as balloon rose

MONTREAL - A man who plunged to his death in a hot-air ballooning accident was clutching a cable from another pilot's balloon as he tried to help it land, Quebec provincial police said Monday. Sgt. Joyce Kemp said Maxime Trepanier, 27, was on the ground holding the cable when the accident happened early Sunday. "When the hot-air balloon began to lift, he did not let go of it (the cable)," Kemp said in a telephone interview Monday. She said she didn't have an estimate of how high Trepanier was carried into the air before he fell.

American dies, four others injured, in Swiss balloon accident

GENEVA (Reuters) - A 55-year-old American man was killed and his wife and daughters were injured on Tuesday in a ballooning accident near the Swiss resort of Gstaad, Swiss police said in a statement. The hot-air balloon in which they were travelling fell about 50 m (164 feet) after hitting power lines as it came in to land, the police statement said.

One dead, four hurt in Swiss balloon accident

One man died and four other people were seriously injured Tuesday when a balloon crashed to the ground after hitting a power line in Switzerland, police said. The man's wife and their two daughters as well as the balloon's pilot were hurt when the balloon fell about 50 metres (160 feet) in the western region of Fribourg, the police told AFP. The balloon had taken off from Chateau d'Oex, in the Vaud region. pjt/lc/bm

Hot-air balloon festival in France sets two new records

A massive gathering of hot-air balloon enthusiasts in northeastern France has set two world records, filling the sky with 408 of the colourful craft at one time and lining up 391 of them for takeoff. But organisers of the Lorraine Mondial Air Ballons festival near the city of Metz, which drew upwards of 350,000 people, lamented capricious weather conditions and bad behaviour by some of the participants.

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.

Internet balloons to benefit small business

Google's plans to beam the Internet from giant balloons sent to the stratosphere could boost small businesses in rural parts of Asia by connecting them online, the company said Wednesday. Karim Temsamani, Google's head of Asia Pacific, said in a speech at the Communicasia conference in Singapore, that the Internet balloons might also facilitate communication during disasters.

Google's Project Loon explores balloon-powered Internet access

(Reuters) - Google Inc has launched a small network of balloons over the Southern Hemisphere in an experiment it hopes could bring reliable Internet access to the world's most remote regions, the company said late Friday. The pilot program, Project Loon, took off this month from New Zealand's South Island, using solar-powered, high-altitude balloons that ride the wind about 12.5 miles - twice as high as airplanes - above the ground, Google said.

A look at Google's launch of Internet-beaming balloons

Google is experimenting with balloons that beam the Internet from the sky. WHAT? The helium-filled balloons are made from a thin polyethylene film and are 15 metres (49 feet) in diameter when fully inflated. WHERE? They float in the stratosphere about 20 kilometres (12 miles) above the Earth.

At least 10 injured in Colorado hot air balloon crashes

DENVER (Reuters) - Gusty winds forced the crash landings of four hot air balloons in separate mishaps on Saturday northwest of Denver, leaving at least 10 people hurt, but none of the injuries was life-threatening, authorities said. All of the aborted flights occurred in wide-open areas frequented by balloon enthusiasts, according to Dana Lewis, a spokesman for the Rocky Mountain Fire Protection District.

Egypt report blames balloon crash on pilot, leak

A hot air balloon accident that killed 19 tourists in Egypt was caused by the "grave" pilot error that caused a gas leakage, a police forensic report has found. The interior ministry report blamed the manager of the hot air balloon port and the pilot for the February 26 accident that killed the Asian and European tourists. The report, prepared by a ministerial forensic team, said "a grave error" led to a gas leakage that ignited the balloon in mid air, but did not elaborate.
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