NTSB Report Blames Downdraft For Stallworth Balloon Accident
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The National Transportation Safety Board released a report Monday on the hot air balloon accident that sent NFL receiver Donte Stallworth to the hospital last month. The report blamed the problem, which left Stallworth and his girlfriend with 2nd degree burns, on a down draft.
According to the NTSB’s report, the hot air balloon flight was flying around 1000 feet above sea level and that the pilot was monitoring the winds as the flight was starting to come to an end.
The pilot said he knew where some power lines were and that he avoided them by giving himself extra altitude so he can clear the lines. But, according to the NTSB report, as the balloon approached the power lines, a downdraft of wind sent the balloon into the power lines.
According to the pilot, he typically used one burner during a flight but had both burners on as the balloon began to get pushed towards the lines. The pilot told the NTSB that he shut off the burner right before the balloon hit the wires.
The NTSB said the balloon hit the lines and caused an explosion and flash fire that injured both Stallworth and his girlfriend. The NTSB categorized the injuries to Stallworth and his girlfriend as “serious.”
The fuel system of the balloon wasn’t involved in the fire and the pilot was not burned by the explosion when the balloon hit the wires.
In the days after the accident, Stallworth’s agent Drew Rosenhaus said the wide receiver would be fine and will be able to restart his NFL career. But, Stallworth spent part of last season on injured reserve and currently hasn’t found a roster spot with a team.