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Updated: Wednesday, 27 Feb 2013, 6:32 PM EST
Published : Wednesday, 27 Feb 2013, 5:39 PM EST
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) - It was a terrifying sight after a hot air balloon caught fire in Egypt.
After a flash of light it fell nearly one thousand feet to the ground.
Lisa Fusco, the owner of Pioneer Valley Balloons told 22News crashes like this one are rare.
She explained, “Yesterday was certainly a very sad day in ballooning, I’m still pretty upset about it. The reality is ballooning is a very safe form of flight."
Here in western Massachusetts most balloons are relatively small, seating 6 passengers at most. They must be registered with the FAA and pilots are commercially licensed.
Balloons are also inspected every year or every 100 hours of flight.
Pilots perform detailed checks of the balloon and the propane lines that fuel it before every trip.
Vinnie Melling, another balloon pilot based out of Northampton, told 22News, “If you look at the rare times we have airline accidents and they are extremely rare and I think people put that in perspective. They see the value of flying the airlines and they look beyond and that and we hope people will see the value you get out of hot air ballooning and look beyond a rare incident like this."
Those who have been passengers say any risk is worth the ride.
Sue Burkhart of Northampton told 22News, “It should be on everyone's bucket list."
Balloon flights in Egypt have been suspended while the investigation continues.
The season for ballooning here in western mass starts in may and usually runs until November.