Deadly Balloon Accidents Relatively Rare
(NEW YORK) -- The tragic hot air balloon crash in Luxor, Egypt on Tuesday that killed 19 people was one of the deadliest accidents of its kind, with reports that some tourists leaped 1,000 feet rather than remain in the burning basket.
However, as USA Today reports, more than 90 percent of hot air balloon accidents in the U.S. since 1964 have not resulted in fatalities.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, 67 accidents of the 760 reported over the past 50 years have been fatal.
The most recent one was a year ago when a pilot crashed into the woods in Georgia because of bad weather. But before that happened, the pilot had all seven passengers who were in the balloon for a parachute outing jump to safety.
Air safety expert Carl Holden of Australia said 11 people were killed in a hot air balloon accident last year in New Zealand.
Nonetheless, Holden remarked, "People have been flying hot air balloons safely, since 1783 to be exact, long before the Wright Brother's first successful powered flight in 1903."
Former Federal Aviation Administration inspector Dominic Chemello also contends, "From an accident safety standpoint balloons are about 10 times safer than airline travel."
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