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HHS HealthBeat (December 3, 2013)

The ups and downs of hot-air balloons

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Riding in a hot-air balloon can give you beautiful views – but just like riding in a car, while mostly things go right, sometimes they can go seriously wrong. Researcher Sarah-Blythe Ballard of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found this in a look at 12 years of federal transportation data on hot-air balloon tours:

“Of the 78 crashes that occurred during the study period, 83 percent resulted in serious injury or death.”

Ballard says most crashes occurred on landing. She advises passengers to listen carefully and follow their pilot’s instructions – including not standing up, or leaping out of the gondola, as the balloon lands.

The study in the journal Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: December 3, 2013