RAJKOT: More than eight tourists were injured when a hot air balloon at the Rann Utsav organized by the state tourism department in Kutch crashed at 8.30 am on Sunday. Authorities said the balloon could not land properly in a dust storm and fell to the earth from a height of about 10 to 12 feet.
The injured have been identified as Dr Naresh Cheda, 52 (Mumbai), Nagin Parekh, 52, (Mumbai), Ramila Cheda, 46, (Mumbai), Deepa Ramchand, 43 (Mumbai) Arunaben, 43 (Mumbai), Ritu Yadav, 40 (the pilot) and Punita Yadav (40) (the co-pilot).
Sources say that more than eight tourists were injured. Some of them were given primary treatment and eight of them were taken to the government hospital in Bhuj. Pilot and co-pilot of the balloon are among the eight people who were injured and were hospitalized.
Kutch district collector M Thennarasan said none of the injured is serious. Asked if the balloon was overloaded, he said that it has a capacity of 16 people and there were 14 tourists in it when the incident occurred. “There was no issue of overloading but it could not land smoothly,” he added.
The state government has been promoting Kutch’s White Desert as a tourist place and organizes the ‘Rann Utsav’ every year to attract tourists to boost local economy.
Recently, CM Narendra Modi, during his Sadbhavna mission in Rajkot said that Kutch and Saurashtra region are only two regions that are getting the most benefit of tourism promoted by the state government.