BRADFORD, Vt. — After continued investigation, the Vermont State Police is releasing additional information about the hot-air-balloon accident that occurred Thursday, July 15, 2021, in the town of Bradford.
In the late afternoon hours, four passengers and a pilot took off in the balloon from Post Mills Airport. Some time later, the balloon began to descend and briefly touched down in a field. When contact was made with the ground, the basket tipped, and a passenger fell out. During this sequence, the pilot became entangled in gear affixed to the balloon as it re-ascended and ended up entrapped underneath the basket, where he eventually fell to the ground from a height. The pilot landed in a field off Waits River Road and was pronounced dead on scene.
The balloon continued north for about 1.5 miles until it became caught in a grove of trees in Piermont, New Hampshire, at which point the three passengers remaining in the balloon were able to climb down safely. None of the four passengers was injured in the incident.
Police are withholding the identity of the deceased pilot pending notification of relatives. His body is being transported to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington for an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration, along with the Vermont Agency of Transportation and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, have been made aware of the incident. Members of the NTSB and FAA will respond later Friday morning, July 16, and lead the investigation into what occurred.
No further information is currently available.