Hot Air Balloon Passengers Jump On Boat

Nine passengers have been forced to jump from a hot air balloon on to a passing boat amid fears it was about the crash into the ocean.

Footage shows how the passengers on the balloon, which was low on fuel, are helped to safety by people on the boat in Port Philip Bay in Melbourne.

The balloon hovers just above the vessel for most of the rescue on Saturday morning. The pilot also managed to balance the basket on the bow of the boat.

The vessel was being used by a family of wakeboarders, who then took the passengers to a fire brigade boat.

The operation was overseen by marine personnel from the police and coast guard.

 A number of boats had been trailing the balloon as it drifted out to sea after numerous failed attempts to land.

One of the wakeboarders, 18-year-old Jack Abbott, told Nine News: “Dad said, ‘you need to come in now, we’re going to get this hot air balloon’.

“The first lady was quite distressed when she came off, then we took it two passengers at a time to account for the weight ratio.”

With all the passengers off, the pilot was able to keep the balloon airborne for longer and, after being passed more fuel by emergency services, landed it successfully on a nearby beach after several attempts.

None of the passengers were injured.

The Australian Volunteer Coast Guard said on its Facebook page that the balloon “came dangerously close to crashing in Port Philip”.

“The pilot did a magnificent job at landing the hot air balloon 5 times on the bow of a recreational vessel, he off loaded 2 passengers at a time,” it said.

“All passengers were returned to shore.”

The pilot, Peter Wright, told the ABC that the whole situation had gone “smoothly” and said the passengers were “fabulous, very cooperative and calm”.

He said he never ran out of fuel but supplies were running low.

“Ballooning is one of those things. Occasionally we do land in strange spots. Apart from taking up the time of the fabulous water police, it’s all been okay,” he said.

“I followed our procedures, they worked perfectly.”


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