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Hot air balloon pilot dies during landing accident

| Monday, June 16, 2014, 8:30 p.m.

KIMBERTON — The pilot of a hot air balloon fell from the basket while trying to land in a field near Philadelphia and could not be revived after becoming trapped under it, authorities said on Monday.

Jeff Hooten, 47, of Albuquerque died on Sunday from the accident in East Pikeland Township, Chester County, police said. None of the 10 passengers was injured.

Hooten was reaching to grab a rope to deflate the balloon when he fell, according to police Chief James Franciscus. The pilot was dragged when he got stuck between the basket and the ground, Franciscus said.

People were performing CPR when officers arrived, but Hooten died in a hospital, police said.

A statement from the Federal Aviation Administration said preliminary information indicated that Hooten fell out when the balloon bounced in a hard landing.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating. The NTSB did not have any other details by early Monday afternoon.

The balloon was operated by the Hot Air Balloon Team of Warwick.

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