Hot air balloon hits German power line tower, prompting dramatic rescue

Six people were rescued Sunday night from a hot air balloon that collided with a power line tower and became tangled more than 230 feet above the ground in western Germany.

The balloon was flying over the city of Bottrop, just northwest of Essen, when it hit the tower. The balloon itself deflated, leaving the basket hanging precariously near the top of the structure.

Specially trained firefighters rescue passengers from a hot air balloon which collided with a high-voltage power line in Bottrop, western Germany. (Caroline Seidel/dpa via AP)

Officials said the balloon itself came into contact with a 380,000-volt power line, but the basket, fortunately, did not make contact with the wires.

The Bottrop Fire Department said in a statementthe balloon got stuck around 5:30 p.m. local time. After getting in touch with the passengers via a megaphone and shutting down the tower’s power, first responders were able to climb up to secure the basket.

Each passenger, individually tied to a rescue harness, rappelled down the tower’s mast in a rescue operation that took nearly five hours.

No one was injured, however, the passengers were taken to a local hospital for observation.

The “rescue” of the balloon was expected to continue Monday.