A man has fallen to his death from a hot-air balloon in Australia


MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — A man fell to his death from a hot-air balloon Monday as it passed over suburban Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city.

The hot-air balloon took off from Melbourne’s northern suburbs early in the morning and was in the air for about 30 minutes before the man fell from the basket.

His body was found in a residential area, which Victoria state police closed off to traffic. The balloon landed safely many miles from where the man’s body was found.

Police said it will prepare a report for the coroner and the death is not being treated as suspicious. Police are also speaking with the balloon’s pilot, other occupants and witnesses.

The National Commercial Hot-Air Ballooning Industry and the Australian Ballooning Federation expressed condolences for the man’s family and friends.

“Hot-air balloon baskets are designed with safety in mind, specifically to prevent passengers from falling out accidentally or from any accidental exit,” their written statement said. “Passengers and the pilot are understandably traumatized by this tragedy and the operator is arranging psychological support and counselling for all affected.”

The incident is also being investigated by workplace and air safety regulators.

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