Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hot-air balloon rides - researchers advise 'proceed with caution'

Date:
November 4, 2013
Source:
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Summary:
Investigation of hot-air balloon-related injuries and deaths in the U.S. reports that targeted interventions may improve crash outcomes and decrease the number and severity of balloon crash injuries.

"A more standardized reporting of hot air balloon crashes would assist the development of targeted interventions aimed at decreasing the number and severity of balloon crash injuries, and improve the public health impact of less-regulated commercial air tour operations, like paid hot-air balloon rides," said Leland P. Beaty.
Credit: selitbul / Fotolia

Recent data show that helicopter and fixed-wing commercial air tour operations in the U.S. have high crash rates compared with similar commercial aviation operations, and crash rates increase with less regulated standards of operation. The findings raise concerns about the public health impact of less-regulated commercial air tour operations, such as paid hot-air balloon rides.

The investigation of hot-air balloon-related injuries and deaths in the U.S. reports that targeted interventions may improve crash outcomes and decrease the number and severity of balloon crash injuries. The study, conducted by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Injury Research and Policy, appears in the November issue of Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine.

Researchers combed through National Transportation Safety Board reports of hot-air balloon tour crashes from 2000-2011. During the 12-year period, 78 hot-air balloon tours crashed, involving 518 occupants. There were 91 serious injuries and 5 fatalities; 83% of crashes resulted in one or more serious or fatal outcome. Of the serious injuries, 56% were lower extremity fractures.

"Our findings provide valuable information not previously available on the number and kinds of injuries sustained in crashes of paid hot-air balloon rides," said Sarah-Blythe Ballard, MD, MPH, first author of the paper and a PhD student at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. "This research can inform consumers about the risks involved with this recreational activity, and serve as a tool for operators and policy makers wishing to employ targeted prevention strategies to reduce balloon ride crashes and crash-related injuries and deaths."

Most crashes (81%) occurred during landing; 65% involved hard landings. Fixed-object collisions, with trees, buildings, power lines or the ground, contributed to 50% of serious injuries and all 5 fatalities. During landing sequences, gondola dragging, tipping, bouncing and occupant ejections were associated with poor outcomes. Of the crashes resulting in serious or fatal outcomes, 20% of balloons were significantly damaged or destroyed.

"Practical interventions and ones that have been proven to reduce injury and death in other areas of transportation and recreation could be utilized to ensure a safer passenger experience on hot-air balloon rides," said Susan P. Baker, MPH, ScD, professor and founding director of the Injury Center at Johns Hopkins and a co-author on the paper. "We know over half the serious injuries we reviewed in our study were lower extremity fractures sustained during landings. Potential strategies for reducing landing forces include cushioning the bottom of the basket or employing crash-worthy auxiliary crew seats during landings. Similarly, the use of restraint systems and the use of mandatory flight helmets could influence crash outcomes."

"A more standardized reporting of hot air balloon crashes would assist the development of targeted interventions aimed at decreasing the number and severity of balloon crash injuries, and improve the public health impact of less-regulated commercial air tour operations, like paid hot-air balloon rides," said Leland P. Beaty, an Injury Center data analyst with 20 years of aviation experience and co-author on the paper.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sarah-Blythe Ballard, Leland P. Beaty, Susan P. Baker. Hot-Air Balloon Tours: Crash Epidemiology in the United States, 2000-2011. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, 2013; 84 (11): 1172 DOI: 10.3357/ASEM.3719.2013

Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Hot-air balloon rides - researchers advise 'proceed with caution'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131104162352.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2013, November 4). Hot-air balloon rides - researchers advise 'proceed with caution'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131104162352.htm
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Hot-air balloon rides - researchers advise 'proceed with caution'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131104162352.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins