Passengers jump from hot air balloon in dramatic rescue

When strong winds pushed the balloon off course, boats moved under it so people could lighten the load and keep the balloon in the air as fuel started to run out, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) said. The pilot had stayed with the balloon, guiding it to Safety Beach on the Mornington Peninsula. MFB spokesman Steve Moore said the balloon was reported to be 500m offshore and 40m above the water. "The basket of the balloon was positioned over the bow of the boat and initially three passengers were evacuated from the balloon to the boat," he said. "This reduced the load on the balloon and allowed it to fly higher for a while. "The balloon again lost altitude, more passengers were evacuated and the Balloon returned to a safer distance above the water."All passengers escaped the balloon and were safe and dry, Mr Moore said. Meanwhile, a second balloon landed in a park in the nearby suburb of Aspendale.

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