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Hot air balloon ride gone wrong

By Bianca Rae, KESQ News Channel 3 Reporter, brae@kesq.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 02:32:36 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 10 2013 01:58:22 PM CST
PALM DESERT, Calif. -

"Can we get out? Can we get out?"

Those are words Kristen Edstrom never thought she'd say on a  hot air balloon ride over the Coachella Valley. This year, Kristen and her husband wanted more excitement on their desert visit.  

"Do a lot more, to experience a lot more. So we have done a lot of hikes, a lot of things with our daughter, and then hot air ballooning seemed like a really neat thing to do," Edstrom said.

As they floated across the sky, the couple got the excitement they - didn't - ask for.  

"We were coming in slowly and it really picked up as we got close to the ground. All of a sudden, we felt the impact as though you were in a car accident," Edstrom said.  "We both felt our lives flash before our eyes. We have a two and a half year old daughter. We were close to power lines. The first time we crash landed, the burners got stuck. We were just very unsure of what was going to happen next."

The ballooning company, Balloons Above Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley, gave us this statement:

I don't mind cameras taking pictures, but she didn't do what she was supposed to do like hold on. So she bounced around in the basket and other passengers didn't. By not holding on, she caused part of the problem.

"She said hold onto something, so my husband was holding onto something with one hand, taking pictures with the other. But there was no warning of, 'Hold on, we could crash land here,'" Edstrom said.

Then, it happened again - this time in San Diego. A wedding ceremony aboard a hot air balloon came to an end when a gust of wind forced the pilot to make a crash landing.  

It doesn't happen often. This study shows hard landings account for only 14 percent of balloon accidents. Still, Edstrom said she won't do it.     
   
"Be an informed consumer. Read carefully over the waiver and ask a lot of questions. Ask what the risks and dangers are," Edstrom said.

That way, you'll know how much excitement you could be getting yourself into.