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Mon, March 18

Unplanned balloon landing injures 4

YCSO courtesy photo

YCSO courtesy photo

MAYER - A hot-air balloon ride went awry Monday morning when the balloon went off-course and the pilot was forced to set it down in what a YCSO spokesman called a "rough landing."

A balloon owned by Arizona Balloon Works in Cottonwood, with 10 people on board lifted off from Black Canyon Wash, Dwight D'Evelyn said. The pilot intended to fly to a Camp Verde landing area, but unexpected winds instead took it off-course, over Mingus Mountain and into the Old Cordes community.

The pilot set the balloon down about 8 a.m., and the passenger basket bounced several times, tearing the bottom out, Mayer Fire Chief Glen Brown said. Four injured people, a family from Ohio, were brought to the Mayer Fire Department by the balloon's chase crew, Brown said, and although one woman suffered a broken ankle, none of the injuries were life-threatening. They were taken to the Verde Valley Medical Center in Cottonwood for treatment.

D'Evelyn said the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board would take over the investigation.

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