Police Reports

Updated: Balloon pilot Boland owned small airport, museum

Don Boland, balloonist – screenshot from 2014 VT PBS video

In honor of balloonist Brian Boland, the Post Mills balloon operator who fell to his death last week, Vermont PBS re-aired a 10 minute video of a 2014 visit and balloon ride.

The October 28 episode of “Makin’ Friends with Ryan Miller” profiles Boland, who bought an old airport from which he gave balloon rides.

The following appeared in VT Daily Friday:

A hot-air balloon pilot fell to the ground to his death Thursday, July 15 in Bradford, state police say.

In the late afternoon hours, four passengers and a pilot took off in the balloon from Post Mills Airport. Some time later, the balloon began to descend and briefly touched down in a field. When contact was made with the ground, the basket tipped, and a passenger fell out. During this sequence, the pilot, Brian Boland, 72, of Post Mills, became entangled in gear affixed to the balloon as it re-ascended and ended up entrapped underneath the basket, where he eventually fell to the ground from a height. He landed in a field off Waits River Road and was pronounced dead on scene.

The balloon continued north for about 1.5 miles until it became caught in a grove of trees in Piermont, New Hampshire, at which point the three passengers remaining in the balloon were able to climb down safely. None of the four passengers was injured in the incident.

Boland’s body was transported to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington for an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration, along with the Vermont Agency of Transportation and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, have been made aware of the incident. Members of the NTSB and FAA will respond later Friday morning, July 16, and lead the investigation into what occurred.

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