1 injured when hot air balloon flies into power lines

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EUSTIS, Fla. —

A hot air balloon came in contact with wires, injuring a man in Lake County Thursday morning, authorities said.

The pilot, Chuck Rohr, had two passengers, a husband and wife from Orange Park, in the basket with him, and he said he was about to land.

However, Rohr said he initially didn't see the power lines, and when he finally did it was too late.

The balloon clipped the power lines while coming in for a landing and sparks began to fly.

Rohr said there was no way to keep the hot air balloon airborne.

The man was taken to Waterman Hospital with a burned hand injury from sparks. His wife was not hurt.

The incident happened off 44A in the area of Bear Tracks Road between Eustis and Sorrento.

"Coming in between the trees, you know, you can't see the power lines. There's just no way you can see the power lines. I should have been a little higher, I guess. I came in for a perfect landing, and there they were right in front of me. I couldn't get out of the way," said Rohr.

"Just heard a roaring noise. The power flickered off. It came back on, and I heard another roaring noise. And the power went out and stayed off 30 minutes," neighbor Terry Benton said.

Rohr said he has 40 years of experience and runs the company.

The Federal Aviation Administration sent two investigators out to the scene.

While Rohr said he explained everything, the federal report on the official cause may not come out for weeks. The pilot said it all happened so fast, there wasn't time to be scared.

The name of the injured man was not released.