Terror as hot air balloon carrying tourists crashes into lake

Seven people were onboard the balloon when it plummeted to the ground.

·2-min read

This is the terrifying moment a hot air balloon packed with tourists crashes into a lake and starts sinking to the bottom.

Horrified witnesses watched on as the sightseeing ride to view cherry blossoms went horribly wrong in a country park near the city of Anshun, China. Seven people were onboard the balloon, which seemed unable to inflate properly, when it plummeted soon after takeoff at the Gui'an Cherry Garden.

Footage captured by stunned onlookers shows the flight suddenly take a steep dive from nearly 21 metres in the air before crashing into a deep reservoir. Strong winds can be seen battering the balloon almost as soon as it takes off.

The hot air balloon plummeting into the lake in China.
Stunned witnesses watched on as the hot air balloon plummeted into a lake. Source: AsiaWire/Australscope

In the footage — shared later on Douyin, China's version of TikTok — horrified witnesses scream as the balloon is dragged through the water by the winds. At one point it looks as if the balloon's basket will disappear underwater completely.

It is only the desperate attempts of the pilot using the gas burner that manages to keep the balloon inflated and stop it from sinking. Rescuers eventually arrive and pull the passengers — including one child — ashore. Local media says no injuries were reported.

Now it has emerged that the flight operators may not even have had a licence to carry passengers. The park suspended the sightseeing ride while they investigate the accident.

Hot air balloon crashes in Melbourne backyard

In April last year, a hot air balloon on its maiden flight with 12 people on board made an emergency landing in a Melbourne street. Emergency services were called to an Elwood property to find a balloon draped over a block of flats and the basket in the yard and car park.

Liberty Balloon Flights chief pilot Nick Brau told 3AW radio it was the balloon's maiden journey and was flying for about half an hour but struggled to get in the air properly.

He described the incident as "a bit embarrassing" and said there'd been a malfunction he could not explain.

"The valve that releases hot air from the top, which we use to manoeuvre the balloon, didn't seal properly," Mr Brau told 3AW. "So I was losing a lot of heat and it was difficult to keep the balloon up in the air so that's why I was flying low and I was aiming for the beach but we didn't make it for about 200m."

AsiaWire/Australscope with AAP

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