(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) — An early morning hot air balloon ride ended in near disaster for five people Tuesday after the balloon they were riding in crashed to the ground in a field outside Scottsdale, Ariz.
The balloon’s precarious position in the sky was first spotted shortly after 7 a.m. by a helicopter reporter for local TV station KTVK, who described the scene as “terribly wrong.”
“I knew something wasn’t right,” said the reporter, Tammy Rose.
A camera captured the balloon as it began to sway in the sky after it got caught up in winds as strong as 20 mph. The wind gust knocked the balloon, and its five passengers, to the ground.
“They actually hit the ground several times,” said Rose. “You could see something had gone terribly wrong.”
The balloon and basket holding the passengers were dragged between 800 and 900 feet through a field on the Salt River Pima Indian Reservation where the crash occurred. After kicking up a dust storm of its own on the field, the basket came to a stop on its side, according to KTVK.
The five people presumed to be on board all emerged from the deflated balloon unscathed and declined medical attention.
The pilot called the crash a “textbook high-wind landing” and reportedly warned passengers ahead of time that they could experience a rough landing due to the weather.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Andreas Preuss, CNN
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
Herb Scribner, Deseret News
Eric Bradner, CNN