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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 May 2006, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
Storms blamed for balloon crash
Most of south Wales was hit by thunder and lightning

Violent thunderstorms across south Wales caused flash flooding and a hot air balloon pleasure flight to crash.

A house in Swansea was also struck by lightning in the storms and some homes in the Pontardawe area were flooded.

Up to 40 millimetres of rain fell in some areas of south Wales in just two hours on Wednesday night.

Police said the 15 people on board the hot air balloon, which crashed near Pontypool, were taken to hospital but injuries are not life-threatening.

The Civil Aviation Authority will look into the circumstances of the balloon accident which happened just before 2100 BST at British Mountain in Talywain near Pontypool.

Gwent Police said the balloon had set off from the Monmouth area about an hour and a half earlier. It was on its way back when it got into difficulties and tried to land.

The pilot and 14 passenger were taken to Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny, but none of their injuries were thought to be life- threatening.

Storm-ridden sky above Blackwood, south Wales (Picture Christopher L)
The storms moved right across south Wales

Meanwhile, a house in the Blaenymaes area of Swansea was struck by lightning.

Mid and West Wales Fire Service said the strike caused a small electrical fire and one person suffered from smoke inhalation.

Properties in the Pontardawe area near Swansea were also flooded and some roads had to be pumped out.

A man had to be rescued by fire crews after he was trapped in his car by deep flood water at Seven Sisters near Neath.

Fire control officer Sandy Banfield said: "We had calls coming in from members of the public concerned about the floods.

"Once the two hour period had gone the calls subsided".

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