Two die in hot air balloon crash

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The Independent Online

Two men died when a hot air balloon attempting a high-altitude flight went out of control and crashed in Somerset yesterday.

It is thought the sole occupants of the balloon were trying to ascend to 20,000 feet – the height at which passengers planes cruise – when it descended rapidly.

Onlookers described seeing flames coming from the basket as it crash-landed on a bowling green in Midsomer Norton, near Bath. The men would probably have been carrying oxygen masks.

Investigators said no other aircraft or anyone on the ground was involved. Eyewitness Robert Biggs said: "We looked up, and this hot air balloon came hurtling down."

The basket was not intact. An investigation has been launched by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.