Balloon crashes into Aussie govt building

JOHN-PAUL MOLONEY
Last updated 15:48 14/03/2013

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Balloon crashes into Treasury Building

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A hot air balloon struck the side of the Australian Treasury Building and crashed to the ground just after take-off today.

There was a pilot and two passengers aboard the balloon when it tried to avoid a collision with a balloon overhead and instead hit the top of the six-storey building.

No one was hurt in the incident.

A Canberra hobby photographer and visual artist Peter G. Schlumpp captured images of the balloon's descent, and he believed it was lucky no one was seriously hurt.

"I'm about 100m away and I turned the camera around and I didn't have time to adjust so I just clicked along as it hit the building and came down," Mr Schlumpp said.

"My heart was beating hard, when you see something like that. I was very worried about the people in the basket that they wouldn't get injured or killed."

The balloon festival's flight director John Wallington said the pilot had been trying to avoid another balloon overhead.

"She made a snap decision that she didn't want to risk climbing up into the balloon going off above her, but unfortunately she came too close to the building and contacted it."

Mr Wallington said the incident involving the Canberra-based balloon operator was a minor one and said "the only thing hurt was a few egos".

"There was no damage to the building, to the basket or to her and the passengers. All up it's probably a day's work and $1000 worth of repairs to the fabric."

Mr Wallington said he had reviewed video footage of the descent, which he described as "quite slow", however he would not release the footage.

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- Canberra Times

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