Hot air balloon strikes power lines in Lake County

Passenger taken to hospital with hand injury

EUSTIS, Fla. - A hot air balloon passenger was taken to a hospital after the balloon struck some power lines in Lake County, sheriff's deputies said.

Three people were on the balloon when it crashed Thursday morning along County Road 44A near Bear Tracks Road in Eustis.

According to the Lake County Sheriff's Office, a man suffered a hand injury and was taken to Florida Hospital Waterman in Tavares.

Pilot Chuck Rohr told Local 6 News that he did not see the power lines and ran into them, saying he was embarrassed about the accident.

The lines were about 20 feet high, and the balloon crashed to the ground after striking them, the pilot said.

The other two passengers were not injured.

"You don't have time to be scared. You just go through the emergency procedures and make sure that everybody's OK," Rohr said. "These things are really really safe and you just gotta operate them with respect."

The Federal Aviation Administration has been called to investigate. The balloon's registration is expired, according to the FAA website, but Rohr says the balloon is in the process of being transferred to him.

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