A West Friendship man narrowly escaped serious injur yesterday when his hot air balloon struck some power lines as he tried to land near Lisbon, the Howard County fire department reported.
Ronald C. Broderick, 50, of the 12400 block Banard Way, told firefighters he did not see the wires until it was too late. His balloon was descending over an open field near the intersection of Old Frederick and Watersville roads shortly before 7 p.m.
Witnesses said sparks flew when the craft hit the electrical lines about 25 feet in the air, and the gondola's occupant dropped from sight. But the balloon apparently bounced off the wires and drifted to the ground, a fire spokesman said. The jolt damaged the balloon and nearly severed a propane line, but Mr. Broderick was not hurt.
The accident blacked out power to nearby homes.