Hot Air Balloon Bursts Into Flames, Kills 2

Passengers leap from fire as balloon launches over British Columbia
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2007 5:21 PM CDT
A hot air balloon's basket is engulfed in flames shortly after takeoff when it was about 25 feet off the ground in Surrey British Colombia Canada Friday evening Aug. 24, 2007. Witnesses said passengers...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A hot air balloon went up in flames last night over Western Canada, killing two and injuring 11. The balloon erupted into a fireball as it was preparing to launch, but broke free of its tethers as passengers jumped off. They leaped from the burning balloon with their clothes on fire as their families looked on in horror, the AP reports. "It's basically a burning death up there," a resident said.

Two people were unable to escape as the burning balloon soared 400 feet into the air. It landed in a nearby RV park, where its propane tanks shot off and set fire to three trailers and several vehicles, but harmed no one. Smoke could be seen rising in the air from miles away. Investigators are unsure what caused the accident, Canada's second balloon incident this month.