Hot Air Balloon Pilot Falls, Leaving Passengers

LEXINGTON TOWNSHIP, Minn. (WCCO) — A hot air balloon pilot fell out of the balloon’s basket in LeSeuer County Thursday evening, leaving the other passengers adrift.

According to county sheriff Tom Doherty, 64-year-old pilot Edward Chapman, of Jordan, was taking a group of four passengers on an excursion. Chapman is the chief aeronaut for Balloon Ascensions Unlimited.

Sometime before 9 p.m., Chapman apparently tried to land the balloon near County Road 32 because of an increase in wind speeds and the onset of darkness.

The basket struck the road’s east ditch and tipped, ejecting Chapman and leaving the other four still inside.

The balloon eventually came to rest in a field west of the roadway. Three of the passengers were treated at the scene and released. The fourth was taken to Queen of Peace Hospital with minor facial injuries.

Chapman runs Balloon Ascensions Unlimited. The company website says he has set 20 world records in air balloons, and carried more than 5,000 passengers safely.

Federal Aviation Administration investigators are probing the accident.

Chapman, however, was airlifted from the scene and taken to North Memorial Medical Center with head and facial injuries. He was said to be in fair condition, but his family told WCCO that he’s expected to be OK, and could be released from the hospital soon.

  • Crystal Jones

    I guess I will cross a hot air balloon ride off my “bucket list” I pray the man will be okay.

    • Nancy

      I live in New Mexico. For my birthday we took a hot air balloon ride. It was fantastic!. It was smooth, easy difting. One never know about winds for sure the pilots do have gadgets & walkie-talkie other pilots to e prepard for wind changes. It was money well spent. Do it!

  • Thomas Anderson

    Don’t you think you could at least spell the county name correctly?

  • Gary Lee

    @Thomas – CBS…need we say more?

  • pat

    One morning we had a hot air baloon crash land at our farm, quite spectacular, everyone was ok, thankfully, hope this man will be too.

  • Ronald Raygun

    A republican would tell them all to get off their a@@es and get jobs.

    • ...

      Did you seriously just put a political spin on this?

    • Nasty Pewlosi

      And a Democrat would tell them they’re not responsible & give them other peoples money to make them feel better.

  • Deanna

    I’m from New Mexico also. People have been killed & seriously injured hot air ballooning. The mass ascension is spectacular though – seeing hundreds taking off from the same area at the same time!

    • Bob

      Been down there too. One word is AWESOME!! You have to see it in person to beleive it. My sister use to live in Santa Fe. Hope every one in this accident makes out OK.

  • Drunken Dissed Orderly

    I heard a rumor that a blind man in the hot air balloon said Michele Bachmann was hot, and the guy jumped immediately.

    • urdumb

      Grow up.

      • Jesse V

        That really happened, I heard the same thing and the guy jumped. Speaking of mass ascension. I think that’s what T Paw is looking for after running yellow from Mitt at the debate.

        • Mark from Minnesota Tax Waste

          I read the same thing on the internet, so it must be true.

  • SK

    Knock it off people! This is a serious news report about a dangerous accident that happened to an extremely safe pilot. 2 years ago my wife and I were able to fly with Ed. He canceled several scheduled flights because he doesn’t take chances with bad weather. He has over 30 years experience with an extremely safe record. I can’t believe people would write stupid political comments on a serious accident. Show a little respect. My prayers go out to Ed and his passengers. If I ever had the opportunity to go on a hot air balloon ride I would fly with Ed!

  • Jesse V

    Ever been over a delta in a helicopter? That’s some serious news. It’s a ballon! Baloons are associated with clowns. Michelle and T Paw are clowns.

    • SK

      You are a clown, Grow up!

  • Nicole Urness

    Ed’s baloon crashed outside my home lastnight. My daughter saw the baloon coming down and yelled for me. I did witness the man hit the east side of the ditch, fell out, and looked to be caught on the basket and his head and face went across the road before he was freed and dropped into the west side of the ditch. I went down there to help, I am a nursing student, and had completed CPR, first aid, and EMT courses. For as bad as his face looked, Ed was very alert and graceful. He allowed me to help him and wrap his head up as the Deputy held c-spine. The Le Center police dept. and Le Center ambulance all did a great job, in taking care of Ed and the passangers. Team work goes a long way! The last I hear Ed was in fair condition.

    • SK

      Thanks Nicole

  • Richard in Minneapolis

    Someone got ejected in Minnesota AND IT WASN’T RON GARDENHIRE! Now THAT’s news!!

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