Car Driving Under Hot Air Balloon Hit by Falling Man

Yogev Cohen worked for the balloon operator
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2021 4:38 PM CDT
Man Falls to His Death From a Hot Air Balloon
Hot air balloon burner is seen from the basket in this stock photo.   (Getty Images)

"People are in shock. This is a very difficult event." So says Israeli law enforcement about an accident near Afula Tuesday in which a man fell to his death from a hot air balloon. The Jerusalem Post reports a crew member who was supposed to remain on the ground somehow ended up dangling from the balloon's basket as it rose. The pilot was at least 30 feet off the ground when he realized what had occurred and was unable to quickly return to land due in part to nearby power lines. Coworkers reportedly told Yogev Cohen, 28, to quickly jump, but he ended up hanging on as the balloon ascended.

Cohen ultimately fell from a height of at least 120 feet (some reports say as high as 300 feet) and is said to have hit a car; Haaretz reports the vehicle's passengers were uninjured. The dozen people who were in the balloon at the time also managed to return to land safely. Cohen had been employed by Lagaat Bashamayim balloon company for several months and worked as one of the three people needed to stabilize a balloon prior to liftoff. Police and the Civil Aviation Authority are investigating. (Five people died in a hot air balloon crash in New Mexico in June.)

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