Would you still go up, up and away?

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This photo shows how close three people came to serious harm when their hot air balloon crashed into overhead power lines.

The balloon was being flown by 18-year-old Adam Griffiths and was carrying two passengers when it crashed into a pylon near Bozeat on Sunday.

The rescue operation took five hours as the emergency services had to wait for the 132,000 volts of electricity to be turned off, leaving the trio trapped in the basket hanging more than 15 metres above the ground.

Mr Griffiths realised how lucky he and his passengers had been to escape unscathed.

He said: “It’s so, so lucky and happy that everyone managed to get on the ground safely.”

But just how safe is hot air ballooning?

Thousands of passengers flights take place every year in the UK and accidents are very rare.

The British Balloon and Airship Club, which promotes hot air ballooning, says that under EU legislation balloon pilots should not fly without public liability insurance. The typical minimum insurance for commercial pilots, who carry paying passengers, is £2.4m.

The club also has a code of conduct that offers guidance on issues such as where pilots can land.

The club will be investigating the accident on Sunday on behalf of the Civil Aviation Authority.

Richard Taylor, of the authority, says there are various rules and regulations relating to hot air ballooning.

He said: “Anyone who is flying paying passengers in a balloon needs to have a pilot’s licence to do that, but they also need to have a separate safety certificate for the company to certify that their operations are safe.

“It is the same as if you are carrying passengers in any kind of aircraft, whether it’s a jumbo jet, a light aircraft or a hot air balloon.

“If you just fly balloons for your own leisure you don’t necessarily need a licence from us. In many ways the industry is slightly self-regulated by the British Balloon And Airship Club.

“Whether it is a balloon carrying paying passengers or an individual, pilots need to abide by the rules of the air, in the same way drivers must obey the rules of the road.”

He added: “Hot air ballooning has a very good safety record and the power line industry has been quite active in warning pilots about the dangers of overhead power cables. There will be an investigation into the incident on Sunday and lessons will be learned.”

Susan Barnes-Judd, of Burton Latimer, had a passenger flight in a hot air balloon two years ago with her husband for their 10th wedding anniversary.

She said: “We flew from Sywell and went out over Towcester. It was the first flight of the flying season and it was a bitterly cold day, about -7C or -8C on the ground. We were really wrapped up but as we got higher it got much warmer.

“I don’t have a problem with heights. If you looked out of the basket you did feel butterflies and it was quite a bizarre sensation because you didn’t feel like you were moving. It was very peaceful and tranquil.

“We braced ourselves for the landing as we were told in the safety briefing. We got dragged a considerable amount, about 40 or 50ft, and we landed on our side. It was fabulous, it’s all part of the experience.

“I didn’t have any safety concerns. The pilot had been flying for years and this was something I had wanted to do for such a long time.

“I would go up again tomorrow.”