A Hot Air Balloon Pilot Dies Saving The Lives Of 5 Skydivers

hot air balloon

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

On the evening of Friday, March 16, a hot-air balloon pilot told five skydivers to jump as they neared a lightning storm before he was swept into the sky and sent free-falling to his death, the AP reports.Edward Ristaino, 63 and an experienced navigator, had directed the balloon above a 15-acre field in Fitzgerald, Ga., so the skydivers could evacuate from the basket just before the storm hit.

Ristaino’s body was discovered, after an extensive search, eight miles from the jump and almost three days after the accident.

Dennis Valdez, one of the skydivers, told the AP that if he had known the gravity of the situation, he would have strapped Ristaino in with him as he jumped.

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