Michigan balloonist survives crash at SC event

ANDERSON, S.C. (AP) -- Officials say a Michigan man survived a hot air balloon crash in South Carolina when the balloon's basket got caught in a tree about 10 feet above the ground.

Officials say pilot Chuck Walz of Muith, Mich., broke his leg and pelvis Sunday morning in a crash at a balloon festival in northwest South Carolina.

Anderson Fire Chief Jack Abraham says Walz's balloon may have been 9,000 feet in the air when it deflated. The fire chief says the balloon's basket was skewered by a tree branch 10 feet from the ground and stopped the fall.

Walz fell from the basket to the ground. He was conscious when rescuers arrived.

Federal aviation officials are investigating.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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