Murfreesboro couple experience hot air balloon fire in Phoenix - WSMV News 4

Murfreesboro couple experience hot air balloon fire in Phoenix

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A Murfreesboro couple seeking an adventure got more than they bargained for.

The hot air balloon they were riding in catches fire, after hitting a tree trying to land.

Ronnie and Becky Gandy says this was their first time up in a hot-air balloon. They recall that the winds shifted just as they were just about to touchdown.

“He said brace yourself we're going to hit that tree there,” Becky Gandy said.

“The balloon, it just slid into the tree. When (the pilot) started to inflate the balloon again, so it would move back, the wind shifted the balloon which the burner caught the actual balloon on fire.”

13 people were in the balloon basket as the fire started to spread. When someone screamed the balloon is on fire. Everybody started bailing out, it was time to get out.

The balloon ended up in a ball of fire. No one was injured. The two were in Phoenix attending a business conference.

Gandy says the company, Hot Air Expeditions had excellent reviews. The two believe this was a fluke accident.

“I researched it online, and I even talked to them a couple of times,” Ronnie recalls. “(I was) very pleased with their ratings.”

Becky said, “I feel sorry for the pilot, because that was his balloon. That was his livelihood.”

They say, despite this - they would not think twice about going up in a balloon again.

“I would, but I'm sort of been there, done that. I don't think I need to (again),” Gandy said.

In a statement, Hot Air Expeditions said the pilot “had over 30 years of hot air balloon piloting experience, and that this was a standard, safe hot air balloon flight. And that the landing, was also a safe, calm, and routine landing.”

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