Terrifying footage shows moment hot air balloon plummets to ground

Seven News has obtained video of the terrifying moment a hot air balloon crashed in the Hunter Region on Saturday morning, injuring four passengers.

Onboard the balloon, a man is heard telling his fellow passengers to brace.

“We’re fine, we’re fine, we’re fine, we’re fine,” he says.

But it wasn’t fine. The four on board were injured – two seriously, after the basket skimmed across the ground, flipping as it hit a bush in Greta before 7am.

The balloon crashed in the Hunter Region injuring four people on Saturday morning. Source: 7 News

Two women, aged 80 and 24, were airlifted to John Hunter Hospital. The other two passengers were taken to Maitland Hospital with minor injuries and have since been released.

Emergency crews said they were surprised the outcome wasn’t worse.

Paramedic Brian Knowles said “everybody was pretty relieved”.

It's exactly a week after Aussies were caught up in a fatal hot air balloon crash in Egypt, but authorities say Australia is much better regulated than many overseas operators.

Footage inside the balloon basket shows the passengers bracing for impact. Source: 7 News

Peter Gibson of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority said Australian pilots "have to be licensed with commercial pilot licences”.

“The organisations hold an air operation certificate,” he said.

“So there are high safety standards covering commercial balloon operation in Australia.”

Other ballooning companies cancelled their flights on Saturday morning due to poor weather but the company at the centre of the crash claims safety is their top priority.

Balloon Aloft says it took off in calm conditions and during the flight the wind speed increased much earlier than was predicted by the Bureau of Meteorology.