PNM shares what to do if a hot air balloon gets caught in power lines
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Balloon Fiesta is just days away. While everyone is getting excited, officials said people have to talk safety – especially if a hot air balloon hits power lines.
A hot air balloon was draped over power lines in a mock demonstration by PNM Wednesday morning. The utility company wants people and first responders to know what to do if this should happen and if they come across it.
"Obviously, electricity adds a different level of safety concerns when we’re in that type of event," said Meaghan Cavanaugh, spokesperson for PNM.
PNM said their job is to kill the power line as soon as possible. Pilot Ray Bair said if anyone is in still in the basket, they need to stay inside until help arrives.
“There have been power line strikes, they are remarkably rare,” said Bair, who is also on the Balloon Fiesta Board of Directors.
The first inclination is to probably run out and help the people involved, but officials said don’t do that – stay as far away as possible and call for help.
Over the summer, a hot air balloon carrying five people crashed into power lines at Central and Unser. Everyone was killed and many witnesses rushed over to help. While Balloon Fiesta and PNM officials said they couldn’t comment on that incident, running into a situation like that is dangerous.
"It is crucial that we don’t have any more injuries associated with until we have verified that the lines are de-energized,” said Wilson Guin, a member of the PNM Board of Directors.