Hot air balloon crash near Las Vegas under investigation

LAS VEGAS (AP) — U.S. authorities are investigating a hot air balloon crash in Nevada that injured at least seven people Thursday when its basket tipped over after hitting the ground, authorities said Friday.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the agency and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash that involved nine people.

Gregor said in an email a preliminary review found the Kubicek balloon made a hard landing Thursday, and the pilot and four passengers were thrown from the gondola.

“The balloon continued bouncing along the ground for approximately a half-mile, during which time the other four passengers were ejected,” Gregor said.

The crash occurred in Goodsprings, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) southwest of Las Vegas.

Six people injured in a hot air balloon crash in Nevada have been released from the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, hospital spokesman Scott Kerbs said.

One woman was flown to a hospital with serious injuries but was expected to live, hospital officials said. She was listed in fair condition.

It’s unclear why the balloon had an abrupt landing, officials said.

It could take the National Transportation Safety Board a year or more before releasing its findings on the crash, Gregor said.

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