HOT air balloon lovers have been warned of the dangers of flying too close to overhead power lines.

The warning has been issued by Western Power Distribution (WPD), the country’s largest electricity network operator covering Worcestershire.

Although ballooning accidents are rare, almost 40 per cent of those reported involve contact with overhead power lines, resulting in electric shocks, burn injuries and, in some cases, death.

In the last 18 months, WPD said it had responded to three incidents in which hot air balloons had come into contact with overhead lines.

Luckily, there were no injuries.

Eddie Cochrane, WPD Safety Adviser, said: “While balloon accidents are relatively few and far between, it is important to follow some simple but vital rules to stay safe, such as carrying binoculars to spot overhead power lines and avoiding contact with any electrical equipment, as even low voltages can kill.

“What balloon users may not consider is that balloon envelopes, wires, ropes, fuel cylinders, hoses and baskets can all conduct electricity.

“Overhead power lines often carry extremely high voltages and are capable of cutting through materials such as balloon fabric like a plasma cutter.”