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Seven injured in Australia hot air balloon crash

Photo: AFP


Seven people were taken to hospital Thursday with back injuries and fractures after a hot air balloon crashed in high winds during a dawn tour in Australia, officials said.

Multiple ambulances were called to Dixons Creek, some 60 kilometres (37 miles) north of Melbourne, where the basket of the balloon was found on its side.

"Seven people have been treated and transported to hospital by Ambulance Victoria paramedics after a hot air balloon landed heavily in Dixons Creek this morning," ambulance officials said.

"Paramedics were called to the scene just after 7am and assessed a total of 16 people."

The injured, many in their 60s, were all in a stable condition. No details of their nationalities were made public, although local media said they were a mix of domestic and international tourists.

The Herald Sun newspaper said they were thrown from the basket as the balloon attempted an emergency landing after being buffeted by strong winds.

Senior Sergeant Carolyn Sunderland said the pilot was taking evasive action due to the weather and came down in a private field near a construction site.

"The balloon has touched down heavily and bounced up ... which has then caused the basket to tip over," she said.

"We have numerous hot air balloon companies that work in the area on a daily basis and this is a rarity."

The balloon was operated by Go Wild Ballooning, which offers trips for tourists over the Yarra Valley, drifting past vineyards and mountain ranges with distant views of Melbourne.