Hot Air balloon crash exercise

Tonight’s training night was organised involving the search and rescue of a hot air balloon that had been seen to land in distress, and may have crash landed. Contact was made with Graham Church, the chief balloon pilot of Pendle Balloon Company, based on Longsight Road, Blackburn, who kindly offered the use of a 70’ envelope (balloon to you and me!), basket and burners for a demo, saying that the balloon could be used in the exercise, which saved a very big Blue Peter moment!

After setting up the balloon in the dark and rain above Earnsdale Reservoir, near Sunnyhurst Woods, Darwen, the team were deployed from Roddlesworth Car Park to search for the balloon and exercise casualties. Graham was asked to invite some colleagues along and Derek and Lisa, both balloon pilots, acted as casualties whilst three other colleagues observed.

The first team members on scene were very surprised to see that we “had the real thing”, making the exercise more realistic.

After packing up everyone returned to the car park where Derek gave a very detailed safety awareness briefing on the dangers of a crashed balloon. A quick Q and A from team members, a demo of the burners and their power, type of fuel etc, then into the Royal Arms for a dry off and a pint.

Everyone enjoyed the exercise and the team is looking forward to a return visit, better weather and daylight hours permitting.