Hot air balloon 'did not make emergency landing' in Rainworth

Virgin Balloon Flights have insisted their craft did not make an emergency landing in a Rainworth field yesterday.

Firefighters from Mansfield and Blidworth led 17 people to safety last night (May 14) after the hot air balloon landed in woods near Rainworth.

Stock image

Stock image

A spokesperson for Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service told the Nottingham Post: "They set sail from Kelham Hall and it got quite dark quite quickly so we think they didn't know exactly where they were, so made an emergency landing.

"We got the call as they weren't quite sure where they were, and access was difficult. There were no injuries and the crews led them all to safety.

"We got the call at 10.48pm."

However, a spokeswoman from Virgin hot air balloon flights said the balloon came to land normally, and the fire service was called due to restricted access out of the area which it landed.

The spokeswoman said: "Our balloon did not make an emergency landing last night, it came in to land normally near Rainworth at the end of the flight in accordance with aviation law.

"The flight from Newark was brought in to land in a large clearing, surrounded by woodland with what appeared from the air to be access for vehicles.

"However, after landing, our pilot and crew realised that what had looked like dirt roads from above were in fact tracks not suitable for vehicle access, and there was also a locked gate preventing access.

"As it was starting to get dark and with us unable to get our vehicles on site, our pilot’s priority was ensuring we could safely get our passengers through the woods to the transport that would take them back to the launch site.

"She therefore contacted Nottingham Fire and Rescue Service, who were absolutely fantastic and came out to assist us walking the passengers safely through the woods.

"Hot air balloons can’t be steered in the traditional sense, they can only travel in the direction the wind takes them before being brought in to land by our highly experienced pilots when they see a large enough, clear space.

"Once our passengers had been seen safely on their way, the site manager for the woods actually arrived on site and was able to provide us with full access to retrieve the balloon itself.

"He has also given us his contact details should we find ourselves landing there again."