Wednesday, 4 Aug 2021

Hot air balloon forced to land in town centre as it suddenly runs out of fuel

A pilot was forced to land his hot air balloon in the middle of a town as his balloon terrifying and suddenly ran out of fuel mid flight.

The pilot Andrew Davidson was carrying three passengers when it landed in Sutton-in-Ashfield town centre, Nottinghamshire. He described it as a "once in a lifetime" incident.

Having been a pilot for more than 35 years, the 69-year-old pilot described it as a 'once in a lifetime event' as these kind of events rarely occur, Nottinghamshire Live reports.

The group had planned to fly for an hour and land in the open countryside, but they quickly realised that there was a lack of fuel as the aircraft made a surprise landing and hit the side of a shopping centre.

He said: “That is a once in a lifetime for me – it is a most unusual event.

“It was a forced landing; in other words, you don’t choose to land in that particular location.

“Briefly I was already looking for fields to land in and found nothing suitable and so I found myself flying over Sutton-in-Ashfield with insufficient fuel to clear the built-up area.

“In Sutton-in-Ashfield there are playing fields and school fields and I was aiming initially to land in one of those, but the balloon didn’t track exactly in the right direction, so I found myself over streets and houses rather than fields.

“The only way to stop the balloon was to hit the far wall of the shopping centre, so we hit the far wall at about five miles per hour.

“We have to avoid livestock; we have to avoid power lines and we have to avoid standing crop if possible.

“Almost always you can find a field that you can land in, I was just unable to do so on that occasion.”

The journey was undertaken by members of a private balloon group called the Nottingham and Derby Hot Air Balloon Club.

Officers from British Transport Police spotted the balloon coming down and rushed to the scene.

They provided first aid to those involved that needed it, with one woman on board bumping her nose during the landing.

The BTP Nottinghamshire account’s tweet shortly after said: “Now this isn’t something that happens very often.

“Whilst on patrol officers have witnessed a hot air balloon crashing in Sutton in Ashfield town centre.

“Officers have assisted with first aid, before helping get the balloon under control. #unexpected.”

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