- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 9, 2013

Wind gusts caused four hot air balloons to crash in the Denver area Saturday, injuring at least five people. The unrelated accidents all happened within miles and about an hour of one another, Fox News reported.

Boulder County Sheriff’s Deputy Mitch Rosebrough said a dozen people were riding in a balloon that came down, dragging the basket about 50 yards. Two women were treated for neck and back injuries, Fox News reported.

“For the safety of our passengers, it was a calculated decision to put it down in the best place we could,” pilot Jeff Meeker told The Associated Press.

“The first 45 minutes were absolutely gorgeous, and then the winds just started picking up,” he said. “It’s Mother Nature, and Mother Nature sometimes lets you know who is in charge.”

Another balloon carrying 11 people went down in the Rocky Flats area south of Boulder, AP reported. One person suffered an ankle injury.

One person was injured in Arvada when a balloon crashed into power lines and caused a small fire, and three people were in another basket when the balloon crashed near a highway intersection, Arvada police spokeswoman Jill McGranahan told AP.

In nearby Louisville, a balloon went down, injuring the pilot, who cut his wrist when he crashed into an undeveloped industrial park, AP reported.

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