The victim, 28-year-old Yogev Cohen, was not even meant to be on the hot-air balloon.
By World Israel News Staff
A 28-year-old Israeli died on Tuesday morning after falling from a hot-air balloon over Highway 60 in northern Israel, Israeli media reported.
Yogev Cohen, originally from Kibbutz Yizrael, was one of the crew members operating the hot-air balloon. Upon lift-off, he attached himself to the outside of the hot-air balloon and fell off from a high distance, crashing into a moving vehicle on the highway.
An initial investigation into the unusual accident has revealed that Cohen was not even meant to be on the hot-air balloon this morning. Instead, he was in charge of preparing the equipment and making sure lift-off goes as planned by evenly distributing the basket’s weight.
But for reasons still unknown, Cohen grabbed handles attached to the basket and did not let go during lift-off.
“He was hanging from the lower part of the basket, which never happens,” the owner of the hot-air balloon company, Almog Meir, told police.
“By the time the pilot noticed, [Cohen] was already seven meters above ground,” he added. “Everyone was shouting and telling him to jump off but he said ‘I’m not going to jump, I can hold on.’ The pilot lowered [the balloon] … but at some point [Cohen] couldn’t hold on anymore and fell,” Meir said.
גבר בשנות ה-20 לחייו נהרג לאחר שנפל מכדור פורח ופגע ברכב בכביש 60 סמוך לעפולה
צילום: תיעוד מבצעי מד”א pic.twitter.com/Swx6R9RlEQ
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) October 19, 2021
First responder, Magen David Adom paramedic Maor Etedgi, said that Cohen was found unconscious in the middle of the highway, while suffering from with a multi-system injury. When resuscitation efforts failed, paramedics pronounced his death at the scene.
“About 150 meters from there, we saw a damaged vehicle,” Etedgi said, referring to the vehicle Cohen crashed on after losing his grip. “Its passengers did not require medical treatment,” he noted.