LOS ANGELES Nov 9 A hot air balloon exploded
after landing in Southern California on Saturday, injuring four
people aboard, three of them seriously, authorities said.
The hot air balloon landed uneventfully on a dirt road near
Temecula and the explosion occurred afterward while the
occupants were still in the gondola, Federal Aviation
Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said in an email.
One person was taken to a burn center, two people were
transported to hospitals with trauma centers and another
individual was also hospitalized, the Riverside County Fire
Department said in a statement. It listed three of the occupants
as having major injuries.
Authorities did not give any indication what might have
caused the explosion. The FAA and the National Transportation
Safety Board were investigating the incident.
Gregor said six occupants were in the gondola when the
balloon exploded, but the Riverside County Fire Department's
statement said five people were aboard and that one of those
people was unhurt.
The Temecula area, which is 50 miles (80 km) north of San
Diego, is a wine growing region and hot air balloon rides are a
popular attraction for visitors.
Authorities did not disclose the operator of the balloon.
A spokesman for the Riverside County Fire Department
declined to comment further on the incident.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Kevin Gray and Eric