Hot air balloon crash in the Austrian Alps leaves nine hurt

Nine people have been injured after a hot air balloon crashed on the eastern edge of the Alps in Austria on Saturday.

Emergency services were sent to the scene of the accident in the Bucklige Welt region, an area known for its hilly landscape, about 53 miles (86km) south of capital Vienna.

Two passengers were seriously injured, and were found alongside two other injured people in the rural town of Untereck.

Five other passengers were found with minor injuries about three miles away near Stang.

The cause of the crash currently remains unclear.

The two people seriously hurt were airlifted by helicopter to local hospitals.

According to Austria newspaper The Kurier, the crash happened as the balloon was about to land on a meadow.

It is believed to have descended too quickly and bounced off the ground - knocking four people including the pilot and co-pilot out of the basket.

The four were dragged along for a few metres before the aircraft took off again - still carrying the five remaining passengers.

The pilot is said to have instructed passengers in the sky how to make an emergency landing by phone, according to the newspaper, before the balloon finally came to a halt in a forest.

In June last year, five people died after a hot air balloon was blown into power lines by a gust of wind in New Mexico, US.

The pilot and three passengers were declared dead at the scene of the tragedy.

A fifth person died after being rushed to hospital with serious injuries.

In Germany, three people died and a child was hurt after a plane collided with a hot air balloon then crashed into an apartment block in the city of Wesel, 35 miles north of Dusseldorf, in July 2020.