Virgin rubbishes claims hot air balloon hit power lines and ‘crash landed’ after Milton Keynes takeoff

The hot air balloon was spotted over Toddington. Picture by Samantha Evans -44kNrS482BlCPpKpP77
The hot air balloon was spotted over Toddington. Picture by Samantha Evans -44kNrS482BlCPpKpP77

Virgin has hit out at claims that one of its hot air balloons hit power lines and ‘crash landed’ after taking off from Willen Lake.

A number of social media posts published last night claim that a Virgin balloon flight from Milton Keynes was forced to make an emergency landing in a field at the bottom of Sundon Park Road, Luton.

A social media post about the flight which surfaced last night

A social media post about the flight which surfaced last night

The posts were accompanied by images of the balloon being loaded onto a trailer.

Captions indicated that the balloon and its passengers had been ‘rescued’.

Virgin has rubbished ‘absolutely false’ reports that the flight hit difficulties after leaving Willen Lake.

In a statement the firm said: “Our flight from Milton Keynes last night was absolutely normal and landed perfectly safely.

Virgin has dismissed reports the balloon 'crash landed'

Virgin has dismissed reports the balloon 'crash landed'

“Hot air balloons travel with the wind and land where the pilot sees a suitable open space, as per Civil Aviation Authority regulations.

“The images have come from someone who pulled up a significant time after the landing, after the balloon had been packed away and are in fact of passengers enjoying their traditional champagne toast.

“Every balloon and basket is collected by a trailer after landing- it is how we transport our balloons.

“It was not an emergency of any kind, there was no ‘rescue’”

Additional pictures submitted to the ‘Spotted Sundon Park’ Facebook page show the hot air balloon travelling at low altitude over Toddington High Street.

A Virgin Balloon Flights spokesperson told the Citizen that this may have led to the false reports.

She said: “People get excited when it comes in that low, that is how they land.

“I spoke to the pilot and he said there were no problems at all.”