ALBUQUERQUE (CN) – Rainbow Ryders and hot-air balloon pilot Tom Reyes gave four women a disastrous balloon ride that killed one of the passengers, the surviving riders claim in Federal Court. Rosemary Wooley Phillips, Cheri Dias, Doris Currier and Susan Simpson hired Rainbow to take them up at the 2007 Albuquerque International Balloon Festival.
They claim Rainbow subcontracted their ride to Skyspan Adventures and Reyes without telling them.
The balloon got tangled in some power lines at about 70 feet. Reyes, in an attempt to dislodge it, tore open the bottom of the basket, allowing Phillips to slip through and fall to her death, the lawsuit claims. The fuel tank also fell through the hole, causing the balloon to crash to the ground with the remaining passengers. All were injured, according to the complaint.
Phillips’ sister, Nancy Louise Wooley-Hulsey, and the other passengers seek general and punitive damages for their “pain, suffering and severe emotional distress.” See complaint.