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WOMAN KILLED, 12 INJURED AS BALLOON HITS POWER LINES

A hot-air balloon hit power lines Sunday and exploded, sending the 13 people aboard crashing to the ground, some in flames. A woman celebrating her birthday was killed.

The balloon lifted off from nearby Hesslewood Hall but struggled to maintain altitude, witnesses said. It landed briefly near a riverbank, then took off again.

Narrowly missing trees, it crashed into power lines at the riverside village of North Ferriby in northeast England. The balloon's gas tank exploded, and its wicker gondola fell 30 feet.

"People just dropped to the ground, some with their hair on fire, some with their clothes on fire," said Bob Wilkinson, a local farmer.

Audrey Jones, who turned 75 Sunday, was killed, police said. Her son, Stephen, 38; granddaughter, Beth, 8; and the other 10 people aboard were taken to Hull Royal Infirmary. Four had serious injuries.

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