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Hot air balloon makes emergency landing onto rooftops

An early-morning hot air balloon ride over Melbourne was more eventful than expected on Wednesday, when it crash landed on an apartment rooftop.

No one was injured during the incident, which was filmed by passenger Jayde Magookin as he and 12 other people were bounced over roofs and treetops.

Pilot Nick Brau said the balloon was brand new, but would not fly properly.

Mr Magookin, 34, said the crash landing was “terrifying” but he and the other passengers could laugh about it now.

The balloon – which was on its maiden flight in the Australian city – ended up draped over two rooftops in the southern suburb of Elwood, and pictures showed the basket lying in a carpark.

Mr Brau, who is the director of Liberty Balloon Flights, managed to avoid light poles and overhead cables, but some buildings were damaged as he struggled to maintain altitude.

The pilot told the BBC he was not sure what went wrong, and was shaken by the accident as it is “not very pleasant when these things happen.” An investigation will now be done by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Mr Brau said this was his first crash in 27 years of flying hot air balloons, and passengers praised his ability to stay calm and land safely.

The balloon was part of a fleet of six, with the other five balloons landing safely.

‘A whole round of bad luck’

Mr Magookin said he noticed something was wrong after the hot air balloon took a different route than the rest of the group. Passengers could then feel the balloon “skimming tops of trees” and “narrowly missing power lines”.

His wife, Aelia, 30, can be seen in the video nervously crouching down in the basket as it bumps into a rooftop and ploughs through trees.

The couple were booked to go on the dawn flight two weeks ago – but Mr Magookin was recovering from a recent heart attack.

It has been “a whole round of bad luck”, he told the BBC.

However when asked if he would fly in a hot air balloon again, Mr Magookin laughed and said “always, yes”. Although he was previously scared of heights, he said that strangely the accident had given him more confidence to overcome his fear.

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