Disturbing video shows an Israeli man dangling from a hot air balloon moments before he plunges hundreds of feet to his death.
“Apparently he is a ground crew member who was supposed to be on the ground and not in the air,” responding police officer Slava Bonchuk told Ynet of the freak accident, which occurred Tuesday near Afula, the Times of Israel reported.
Police reported the man — identified as Yogev Cohen, 28 — had been dangling off the side of the airship when it lifted off the ground. Cohen had reportedly been readying the vehicle for takeoff, although it was unclear why the grounds crewmember was holding onto the gondola as it rose into the sky.
By the time the pilots noticed the staffer’s plight, the vessel had ascended too fast for them to reverse course.
Accompanying photos and video from Reuters show Cohen hanging precariously from the balloon’s red and white basket as it soars above a highway.
Hoping to save the imperiled soul, the operators attempted to land the airship and also haul Cohen into the passenger compartment, the TOI reported. However, he slipped off and plummeted 300 feet, before landing on top of a moving car.
Thankfully, the balloons pilot managed to land the vessel safely.
Shortly thereafter, paramedics arrived at the scene, whereupon they saw Cohen “in the middle of the road with a very severe multi-systemic injury,” one of the first responders noted.
“He was not breathing and without a pulse,” added the medics, who declared the crewmember dead at the scene. Fortunately, the occupants of the vehicle that he landed on were unharmed in the accident, Ynet reported.
Police and the Civil Aviation Authority have since launched an investigation into the incident. ”We started collecting testimonies from the pilot. the vehicle passengers, eyewitnesses, and people who were in the balloon basket,” said Bonchuk.