NINE people have been hurt in a hot air balloon crash after the pilot was thrown out and the passengers were dragged for miles before plunging into a forest.
Emergency services raced to the scene of the accident in the hilly Bucklige Welt region near the Alps on Saturday morning.
Four injured passengers were found in the rural town of Untereck – and the other five were found three miles away near Stang.
According to newspaper , the crash happened as the balloon was about to land on a meadow.
It’s understood the balloon came down too quickly, bounced off the ground and tipped four people – including the pilot and co-pilot – out of the basket.
The four were dragged along for a few metres before the balloon shot up into the air again – still carrying five passengers.
The pilot is said to have explained to the passengers in the sky how to make an emergency landing by phone.
The balloon finally came down in a forest three miles away, with images showing the red and white aircraft shredded by the trees.
Two seriously injured passengers – a 33-year-old and a 60-year-old – were airlifted to hospital.
The cause of the crash currently remains unclear.
The public prosecutor’s office in Wiener Neustadt has reportedly launched an investigation into the hot air balloon company.
A spokesman said he “did not want to speculate” on the cause.
The Red Cross said four rescue vehicles were sent to the scene.
Last year, five people died after a hot air balloon was blown into powerlines by a gust of wind in New Mexico in the US.
In 2020, three people died and child was injured in Germany after a plane hit a hot air balloon and then crashed into an apartment block in the city of Wesel, north of Dusseldorf.
And last month, two people died and three others were injured after a balloon made a crash landing in Turkey.
The Spanish victims were killed after the accident in the popular tourist spot of the central Cappadocia region.
There were 28 tourists and two crew members on board when the balloon crashed after a tour of volcanic rock formations.