03/Sep/2014 - Last News Update: 00:01

Northamptonshire balloon crash pilot ignored warning

Category: England

Published: 25th Jun 2012 20:00:08

A pilot who crashed a hot air balloon in Northamptonshire failed to respond to warnings about the atmospheric changes, an investigation has found.

Adam Griffiths, 18, from Rushden, was carrying two passengers on 25 March when he hit power lines in Bozeat.

An investigation by the British Balloon and Airship Club said another pilot had warned him about turbulence, but he continued on the same path.

The report referred to the incident as an accident.

It said when the balloon had taken off the weather conditions had been good, but problems occurred when Mr Griffiths tried to land in playing fields on the far side of some power cables.

The report said a few minutes before the crash the pilot of another balloon, which was flying ahead of Mr Griffiths, called him to warn that he had experienced high wind speeds.

Mr Griffiths did not alter his flight path and continued to try to land in the fields.

The report said: "He quickly realised that the balloon would not avoid the wires so he turned off both pilot lights and took action to rapidly deflate the balloon to minimise the risk of the more vulnerable basket and burner lines contacting the power lines."

The balloon struck the lines and slid along them until it hit a pylon.

Witnesses alerted the emergency services but rescuers had to wait for more than five hours before beginning the rescue as they had to receive confirmation that the power was off. No-one was seriously hurt.

Mr Griffiths, who had 26 hours of flying experience at the time of the crash, told investigators that if faced with a similar situation again he would take a different course of action.

He said he would aim to modify his approach accordingly or seek a "more appropriate" landing site.

Don Cameron, from the British Balloon and Airship Club, said the case shows how important it is for hot air balloon pilots to have as much experience as possible of micro meteorology.

"It's something you go on learning forever," he said.

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2012. Northamptonshire balloon crash pilot ignored warning [Online] (Updated 25th Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1436830/Northamptonshire-balloon-crash-pilot-ignored-warning [Accessed 3rd Sep 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Apple confirms accounts compromised but denies security breach

    Apple has confirmed that some celebrities' iCloud accounts were broken into, but says it has found no evidence that this was caused by a breach of its security systems.
  • Apple confirms accounts compromised but denies security breach

    Apple has confirmed that some celebrities' iCloud accounts were broken into, but says it has found no evidence that this was caused by a breach of its security systems.
  • Scottish independence: Referendum race 'may have got tighter'

    For the past three or four months or so, the referendum race has looked as though it was stalled.
  • No prosecution over Druids' Ardoyne Fleadh comments

    There will be no prosecutions over complaints about the performance of a folk band at the Ardoyne Fleadh last month.
  • Ebola response lethally inadequate, says MSF

    A global military intervention is needed to curb the largest ever Ebola outbreak, according to the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com