A university student has died plummeting to the ground from a hot air balloon, after dangling off the side.
Terrifying footage of the incident was captured near the city of Zhuzhou in the Chinese province of Hunan last Friday at the Youyi Manor hot air balloon flight.
In the video, the balloon is descending to a field below, as the university student passenger is seen dangling from the balloon’s basket.
The student, who also worked part-time for the hot air balloon company, then plummets to the ground below and onlookers are heard screaming.
Seconds later, the hot air balloon manages to land on the ground.
A spokesperson for the Lexiang Aviation Sports Club confirmed that the victim was a part-time university student.
The spokesperson also confirmed the young man was around 10 metres from the ground at the time that he fell and he died at the scene before emergency services arrived.
The company informed the family of the student’s death, expressed their regret for his passing and said they will cooperate with the local authorities in the ongoing investigation.
Lexiang Aviation Sports Club said due to the reopening amid the Covid-19 pandemic, there are fewer hot air balloon operators and the club hired a number of part-time college students for the first time to use for group management and tour guides.
“We taught the takeoff process when we were training them, but he did not follow the training method,” the Lexiang Aviation Sports Club spokesperson said.
“However, he didn't seem to pay attention. He grabbed the basket and went up with the hot air balloon.”
The spokesperson said the balloon operator failed to notice the student was dangling from the basket initially, but was eventually alerted to this by people on the ground.
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