KIRCHSCHLAG IN DER BUCKLIGEN WELT, Austria (AP) — A hot air balloon crashed twice Saturday on the eastern edge of the Alps in Austria, injuring nine people as a hard landing apparently bounced the pilot and the co-pilot out of the basket and sent several passengers back into the sky on their own, authorities said.
Sonja Kellner of the Lower Austrian Red Cross told news agency APA that two of the occupants were seriously injured in the crash in the Bucklige Welt region, an area named for its hilly landscape. They were found with two other slightly injured passengers at Untereck.
The other five passengers were found with minor injuries near Stang, about 5 kilometers (3 miles) away.
The Kurier daily newspaper reported that the accident occurred as the balloon was about to land on a meadow. It apparently descended too quickly and bounced off the ground, knocking four people out of the basket, including the pilot and co-pilot. They were dragged along for a few meters (yards) before the balloon took off again with its five remaining passengers.
Still, the pilot was able to instruct the passengers in the sky by phone on how to make an emergency landing. The balloon eventually came to a halt in a forest, Kurier reported.
The two seriously injured passengers were taken by helicopter to local hospitals.
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