Man dies after falling from hot air balloon onto car

The man tried to hold on and was dangling from the side of the balloon basket after it left the ground but he fell to his death from a height of about 100 meters.

A hot air balloon soars over the Jezreel Valley in northern Israel (photo credit: REUTERS)
A hot air balloon soars over the Jezreel Valley in northern Israel
(photo credit: REUTERS)

A man in his 20s died on Tuesday after falling from a hot air balloon and hitting a car on Route 60 near Afula.

Magen David Adom paramedics found Yogev Cohen but were unable to revive him.

Cohen was a member of the hot-air balloon’s crew. For an undetermined reason, he was left dangling from the side of the balloon’s gondola, or basket, as it lifted off. The balloon rose quickly, and the pilot was unable to immediately land it, Walla reported.

Photos on Israeli news websites showed Cohen in midair, clutching the red-and-white gondola. He fell from a height of about 100 meters, the police said.

The pilot landed the hot-air balloon safely shortly afterward.

 ZAKA medics are seen on Route 60 where a man died after falling off a hot air balloon, on October 19, 2021. (credit: ZAKA) ZAKA medics are seen on Route 60 where a man died after falling off a hot air balloon, on October 19, 2021. (credit: ZAKA)

Police and the Civil Aviation Authority have begun an investigation into the incident.

According to the pilot, “the crew member who died was supposed to be on the ground, not in the air,” Israel Police Cpl. Slava Bonchuk told Ynet, adding that Cohen was well-known in the area. “People are in shock. This is a very difficult event.”

Reuters contributed to this report.