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Passengers jump from hot air balloon onto boats in dramatic Melbourne rescue

Nine people were rescued in unusual circumstances as their balloon ran out of fuel this morning.

Source: Associated Press/YouTube

NINE PEOPLE HAVE been rescued after the hot air balloon they were travelling in dramatically ran out of fuel in Melbourne, Australia, earlier today.

The balloon, buffeted by strong winds, was forced 500 metres offshore as it began to run low on fuel ABC Australia reports.

Fire brigade boats and water police arrived at the scene at 8.30am local time, while a number of local fishing boats trailed the balloon’s progress.

“MFB received calls to assist in the rescue of nine passengers from a hot air balloon that was losing height in Port Phillip Bay,” the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade said in a statement.

On arrival the passengers were assisted off by MFB crews and taken to Ambulance Victoria staff for checks. The pilot landed the balloon safely on the beach shortly afterwards.
The incident will now be investigated by the appropriate authorities.

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Each time the balloon lost altitude a passenger would jump from its basket to the deck of a waiting boat below.

This process was repeated until each of the passengers was saved.

The balloon’s captain, Peter Wright, stayed with his vessel and was eventually able to land it on a nearby beach, and afterwards described the landing as “just one of those things”.

“Occasionally we do land in strange spots. Apart from taking up the time of the fabulous water police, it’s all been OK,” he said.

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