Three dead as hot air balloon bursts into flames in Georgia

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This is the horrifying moment a hot air balloon crashed into powerlines and killed all three on board.

The balloon was left ripped to shreds before the basket burst into flames in ex-Soviet republic Georgia.

It was virtually destroyed in seconds as it hit a set of high voltage powerlines after it failed to reach a certain height to safely pass the lines, The Sun reports.

It was blown onto the power lines near the village of Asureti in eastern Georgia.

An unconfirmed report said the two experienced pilots were going to attempt to break a world record for the longest flight in a hot air balloon but the crash happened on one of the practise runs.

The two pilots on board had struggled with the high winds throughout the flight with the balloon having even touched the ground when flying over a field.

Onlookers watched on in shock as the balloon swayed out of control before tragedy struck.

Part of the burning balloon quickly dropped to the ground as the rest sat smoking and ablaze on the power line.

Popular Imedi TV cameraman Misha Bidzinashvili was one of the people on board when the horror accident unfolded.

Imedi TV changed its program schedule to honour the man.

The second was experienced pilot Revaz Uturgauri, the founder of Sky Travel and president of the Georgian National Aeronautics Federation.

Uturgauri wrote on his social media before the flight: “We are flying across all of Georgia from the Black Sea to the border with Azerbaijan.

“The distance is not very long – about 400km. But the flight is difficult, as it passes mainly over the mountains.”

The third man was Polish pilot Krzysztof Zapart, according to local reports.

Both pilots were believed to be experienced at flying hot air balloons.

The balloon took off on Wednesday morning from a stadium in Poti and was due to fly to Kakheti in the east of the country.

Georgian police opened up an investigation into the deaths as they look into a suspected violation of basic safety rules during the flight.

This was the first hot air balloon accident in Georgia in nearly two decades.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

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