Man Dies After Falling Off Hot Air Balloon in Melbourne 30 Minutes After Take-Off

hot air balloon
A BalloonMan hot air balloon over the skies of Melbourne. VisitMelbourne

A man has died after falling from a hot-air balloon in Melbourne's northern suburbs. Emergency services were called to a residential street in Preston where a man's body was located about 7.30am on Monday.

As reported by The Guardian, the hot air balloon took off from CT Barling Reserve, Reservoir, at 7am and the man fell from the basket around 30 minutes into the flight. Investigators are speaking to the other passengers on board the balloon and witnesses to determine the circumstances leading to the man's fall.

Foul Play Not Suspected

The road where the man's body was discovered was closed off from both directions and motorists were urged to avoid the area.

Foul play is not suspected in the man's death and police are preparing a report for the coroner. The balloon landed safely at Yarra Bend Park, police said. According to media reports, counselling was being offered to the other passengers.

The National Commercial Hot Air Ballooning Industry and the Australian Ballooning Federation issued a statement after the company that operated the balloon, BalloonMan, was asked for comment.

In a statement, the groups expressed their condolences to the man's near and dear ones.

"Hot air balloon baskets are designed with safety in mind, specifically to prevent passengers from falling out accidentally or from any accidental exit," the statement read. "Passengers and the pilot are understandably traumatised by this tragedy and the operator is arranging psychological support and counselling for all affected."

The incident is also being investigated by WorkSafe Victoria, the Air Transport Safety Bureau and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Hot Air Balloon Accidents in the Past

In April 2022, a hot air balloon on its maiden flight with 13 passengers and a pilot on board was forced to land among buildings in Elwood in Melbourne's south-east. Three people suffered minor injuries.

Another two people were injured on New Year's Eve in 2021 during a hard landing in a field near Lilydale, east of Melbourne, in which the balloon's basket was dragged 30 metres.

A fuel leak also sparked a fire on a hot air balloon flying over Victoria on Boxing Day in 2018, with one of its 15 passengers cutting their hand after the basket landed in trees.