Tags: Albuquerque (New Mexico), Bradley Brookhart, Doug Chaplin, FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute, flight, Fort Dodge (Iowa), Hampton Iowa, helium balloons, hot-air balloons, Littleton (Colorado), National Transportation Safety Bureau (NTSB), power lines, Thomas Boylan
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The passenger recalled the side of the gondola hitting the top cable of the power lines and hearing screeching or arcing sounds, but he did not see any sparks. The balloon tipped on its side a couple of times and they were thrown around inside the gondola. He remembered seeing the power lines wedged between the balloon cables and the top of the gondola. He stated the balloon remained entangled in the power lines for several minutes. He then heard a snap and the gondola fell to the ground. …
A Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report was prepared for the pilot by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The test results indicate that Pseudoephedrine was detected in urine. …
Related, from Gazette archives, November 25, 2007:
Report: Balloon preparing to land before crashing
NEW HAMPTON — Doug Chaplin, 58, of Albuquerque, N.M., the lone survivor of a Nov. 16 helium balloon crash, said they were preparing to land when the accident happened.
“The surviving passenger reportedly stated they were trying to land in a plowed cornfield when a gust of wind pushed the balloon toward a high-tension power line,” states a preliminary report filed by the National Transportation Safety Bureau.
The report doesn’t name the passenger, but other sources identify him as Chaplin, according to The Courier.
The pilot, Dr. Thomas Boylan, 62, of Fort Collins, Colo., and a passenger, Bradley Brookhart, 37, of Littleton, Colo., were killed when the balloon hit the wires and the gondola basket separated and fell to the ground.