2012 Ljubljana Marshes hot air balloon crash
|Date||23 August 2012CEST (05:54 UTC), 7:54 am|
|Site||Ljubljana Marshes in the Municipality of Ig, between Lavrica, Črna Vas and Ig, 7 km south of Ljubljana, Slovenia
|Aircraft type||Hot air balloon|
A hot air balloon carrying 32 passengers, mostly tourists, crashed and caught fire during a thunderstorm on the Ljubljana Marshes, in the Municipality of Ig, between Lavrica, Črna Vas and Ig, next to Ig Street (Ižanska cesta), two hundred meters from the turn for Matena, seven kilometres south of Ljubljana. A sudden weather change caused the pilot to try to land immediately. However, the emergency landing was thwarted by wind shear and the balloon hit nearby trees. Fire followed.
Four people on board were immediately killed during the accident and 28 others were injured. The four dead at the scene were charred beyond recognition. All four were from Ljubljana: a couple, their 11-year-old daughter, and a 56-year-old woman. Ten people had to be resuscitated. All of the survivors, aged from about 10 to about 60 years, received medical care. Two of the injured people were British and another two were Italian citizens. Two of the injured later died: a woman who died two weeks after the accident in Ljubljana, and a 59-year-old man from Ljubljana who died a few days after in Maribor.
Specifics of the balloon
The basket of the balloon was 5.20 meters (17.1 feet) long and 1.70 metres (5 feet 7 inches) wide. It had four compartments. Its inertia was 19 tonnes (19 long tons; 21 short tons). The balloon was manufactured by the Lindstrand Balloons company. It was the largest balloon in the country and the largest serially manufactured balloon in the world.
On the same day at 7:00 pm, a mass for the dead and injured was held in St. Michael's Church on the Marshes in Črna Vas by Anton Jamnik, the auxiliary Bishop of Ljubljana. It was attended by about 400 people.
Slovene Civil Aviation Agency reported on 27 August 2012 that commercial hot air balloon flights were banned temporarily. The duration of the ban was not given, but the balloon crash was cited as the reason for the ban. Throughout the next year, all involved parties coordinated proposals for stricter rules, which were accepted, and new licenses were granted again starting in August 2013. In the meantime, several operators closed because they were prevented from selling flights, while the remaining ones faced severely reduced sales even after the ban was lifted.
In their report, official accident investigators accused the pilot of using an improper landing procedure, as well as ignoring the bad weather warning and the flight rules. In a preliminary hearing, the pilot denied all these statements, pleading not guilty to the charge of causing general danger. The court trial is now pending.
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- Teran Košir, Alenka (2015-07-07). "Životarjenje slovenskih balonarjev" [Lingering of Slovene hot air balloon operators]. SiOL.net (in Slovenian). Retrieved 2016-02-23.
- "Pilot balona ne priznava krivde za nesrečo na Ljubljanskem barju" [The balloon pilot denies responsibility for the accident on Ljubljana Marhses]. RTV Slovenija. 2015-11-23. Retrieved 2016-02-16.