A recent study may burst your bubble when it comes to booking your next hot air balloon tour.
Hot-air balloons account for the majority of aviation crashes and deaths. An Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine study reviewed National Transportation Safety Board reports on hot-air balloon tour crashes in the US from 2000 through 2011.
During this time, 78 hot-air balloon tours crashed and involved 518 occupants. There were 91 serious injuries and 5 deaths. Four out of five of crashes resulted in one or more serious or deadly outcome. Of the serious injuries, a little over half were lower extremity fractures. Four out of five crashes occurred during landing, and 65 percent involved hard landings. Fixed object collisions contributed to half of the serious injuries and all 5 deaths. During landing, gondola dragging, tipping, bouncing, and occupant ejection were associated with the worst outcomes. Of the crashes resulting in serious or fatal outcomes, one in five of the balloons were significantly damaged or destroyed.