A Virgin hot air balloon carrying 16 passengers collided with a lamppost after strong winds forced the pilot to make an emergency landing in a school playground.
The passengers watched in horror as the pilot narrowly missed hitting houses as it suddenly lost altitude on Saturday night.
The balloon came down in the grounds of Wakeman School in Shrewsbury, Shrops., but was moved to a park after the pilot discovered the gates were locked.
But as the balloon was being moved, a wire cable attached to the basket struck a lamppost and ripped it out the ground.
The bizarre crash was captured by primary school teacher John Kenyon who snapped the balloon coming down.
John, 33, said: “My wife and I were having dinner when we saw it.
“We get a lot of balloons flying over round here, but this one was flying particularly low, and it just kept getting lower, and lower and lower.
“People came out of their homes and we were all laughing and joking about it, we could see there was no emergency.
“The pilot clearly didn’t want to land in the school, so he kind of bumped it over into the field next to it.”
A spokesman for Virgin Balloon Flights said: “One of our balloons, carrying 16 passengers and a pilot, took off from Battlefield, Shrewsbury, at 5.40pm in fine conditions.
“The balloon drifted south and, after the usual hour’s flight, the wind calmed, so the experienced pilot performed a safe, upright landing in the Wakeman School playing field.
“Rather than risk flying on and potentially becoming stranded over the town, the pilot decided to hop the balloon over the fence into the neighbouring park.
“Unfortunately the rope got caught on a tree and a lamppost which was damaged.
“No-one was hurt and after the balloon was deflated, by about 8.30pm.
“We apologise for the damage caused and will make arrangements with the council to ensure it is repaired as soon as possible.”
* A hot air balloon crash near the Egyptian city of Luxor killed 19 people, including British tourists, on February 26.
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