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Hot-air balloon rides -- researchers advise, proceed with caution
Date:11/4/2013

During landing sequences, gondola dragging, tipping, bouncing and occupant ejections were associated with poor outcomes. Of the crashes resulting in serious or fatal outcomes, 20% of balloons were significantly damaged or destroyed.

"Practical interventions and ones that have been proven to reduce injury and death in other areas of transportation and recreation could be utilized to ensure a safer passenger experience on hot-air balloon rides," said Susan P. Baker, MPH, ScD, professor and founding director of the Injury Center at Johns Hopkins and a co-author on the paper. "We know over half the serious injuries we reviewed in our study were lower extremity fractures sustained during landings. Potential strategies for reducing landing forces include cushioning the bottom of the basket or employing crash-worthy auxiliary crew seats during landings. Similarly, the use of restraint systems and the use of mandatory flight helmets could influence crash outcomes."

"A more standardized reporting of hot air balloon crashes would assist the development of targeted interventions aimed at decreasing the number and severity of balloon crash injuries, and improve the public health impact of less-regulated commercial air tour operations, like paid hot-air balloon rides," said Leland P. Beaty, an Injury Center data analyst with 20 years of aviation experience and co-author on the paper.


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Contact: Natalie Wood-Wright
nwoodwri@jhsph.edu
410-614-6029
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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