2 taken to YVMC in Steamboat after balloon landing
July 22, 2011
Steamboat Springs — Two people were taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center after a hot-air balloon made what the pilot describes as a fast landing in North Routt County.
The Routt County Sheriff's Office was alerted to the incident at about 7:20 a.m., Undersheriff Ray Birch said. A woman had injuries suspected of being moderate to serious, and a man had injuries described as moderate.
Pilot Ian Cox, owner of Wild West Balloon Adventures, said eight passengers were on board of the balloon, which took off from Seedhouse Road and landed northwest of Clark.
Cox, who has been piloting balloons for 29 years, said a man who lives in the area requested the flight that Cox used to fly regularly 15 years ago.
Cox said winds are known to be strong on the ground near Clark, and that contributed to the fast landing, which tipped the basket over.
"All of a sudden I look over and someone was injured," Cox said. "I was surprised someone was injured."
Cox did not want to provide names of the injured passengers, and Birch did not know their names.
Cox said the woman injured her foot, and he was told she was having surgery Friday afternoon to set a bone. Cox said the man had a history of back problems and was taken to YVMC to get checked out.
"I'm obviously very sorry the incident happened," Cox said. "We do hundreds and hundreds of landings per year and never an incident."
Birch said the Sheriff's Office was investigating Friday's incident and would refer it to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Cox said his company would resume flying this morning and had a busy weekend planned.