Man Dangling From Hot Air Balloon Falls Over 300 Feet to His Death

A 28-year-old man in Israel died on Tuesday after falling over 300 feet from a hot air balloon, reported The Times of Israel. According to the outlet, police have launched an investigation into the incident.

Yogev Cohen was a member of the hot air balloon's ground crew, said The Independent. For reasons unknown, however, he was left hanging from the vessel's basket as it took off.

"The crew member who died was supposed to be on the ground, not in the air," Israel Police Corporal Slava Bonchuk said according to The Jerusalem Post.

When the hot air balloon operators discovered that Cohen was dangling from the vessel, they tried to land; however, it was rising too quickly, said The Times of Israel. The crew also attempted to pull Cohen into the basket, but sadly, he "slipped and fell," before they could rescue him, the outlet added.

Cohen fell over 300 feet onto Route 60 near Afula, reported The Jerusalem Post. It was also reported that he hit a car.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

"When we arrived we saw an unconscious man in the middle of the road with a very severe multi-systemic injury. He was not breathing and without a pulse," one of the paramedics told Ynet.

"We performed medical tests but had no choice but to determine his death. At a distance of about 150 meters [492 feet], we saw the vehicle on the side of the road that suffered the hit. The occupants of the vehicle did not need treatment," the paramedic continued.

Only 16 people in the United States have died while hot air ballooning between 2002 and 2012, said NBC News. Though hot air balloon fatalities are rare, they do happen all across the globe.

In 2013, 19 passengers were killed when a hot air balloon in Luxor, Egypt caught fire, the BBC reported. Five years later, in 2018, one tourist also died in Luxor as a result of a hot air balloon crash.

Newsweek reported in July that a pilot died after falling from the hot air balloon's basket in Vermont. Three passengers were left inside but safely escaped after the balloon "became caught in a grove of trees" in New Hampshire.

The Jerusalem Post stated that Tuesday's accident rocked the area, as Cohen was well known.

"People are in shock," Bonchuk said, according to the outlet. "This is a very difficult event."

Police and the Civil Aviation Authority have launched an investigation into the incident. So far, police have gathered testimonies from the crew, passengers and eyewitnesses, said Ynet.

hot air balloon
A 28-year-old man in Israel died on Tuesday after falling over 300 feet from a hot air balloon. The man was a member of the balloon's ground crew, but authorities did not know how the man ended up hanging on to the side of the basket. JACK GUEZ / Staff/Getty