Israel hot air balloon: Man dies after hanging from balloon

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A hot air balloon in Israel with passengers on board shortly before the accident A 30-year-old man has died after hanging from a hot air balloon over the…

Israel hot air balloon: Man dies after hanging from balloon

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A hot air balloon in Israel with passengers on board shortly before the accident

A 30-year-old man has died after hanging from a hot air balloon over the southern Israeli city of Beersheba on Thursday evening.

Eyewitnesses say the man, believed to be intoxicated, was trying to lure an animal into the basket when he pulled down the wrong wing and fell to his death.

Witnesses tried to help the man before police officers arrived to the scene.

The incident comes after a number of balloon-related deaths in the country in recent years.

In April, a group of tourists were injured after a hot air balloon crashed.

In March, a 21-year-old woman fell to her death when a hot air balloon struck her as she sat on a platform.

And in 2015, a balloon carrying 24 tourists crashed as it was taking off, leaving four people dead.

With increased scrutiny on the ballooning industry following these incidents, Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority ordered companies to stop taking people to parks with lower altitudes after an Irish backpacker lost her life in April 2016.

The balloon, carrying a total of 16 passengers, crashed into a building in the Beersheba park.

Israel’s state-run Haaretz newspaper said its investigation into the pilot’s conduct suggested he may have felt pressured to start and end the flight quickly and let people off too quickly.

The paper also reported that air traffic control at the nearby city of Safed had been advising the pilot to avoid landing at the park.

In a tweet, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the incident “a tragedy”.

“We are following closely the investigation into this serious incident, and I have ordered immediate procedures to ensure our ballooning safety,” he added.

The balloon company, Giza Air, declined to comment, saying only it was cooperating with the police inquiry.

The company claims it has won flying permits from the authorities following the most recent spate of deaths.

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The Hovideshev County Authority said it is compensating the man’s family after identifying the man on Friday as Meshach Levi Ben-Meir.

“Our hearts go out to the bereaved families,” it said in a statement.

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