REGION — A British balloonist and scientist who set 79 world ballooning records died following a balloon-related accident near Warner Springs, it was reported today.
Julian Richard Nott, 74, was injured Sunday afternoon in an accident several hours after his pressurized, high-altitude cabin and balloon had a soft landing north of Warner Springs and east of Palomar Mountain, according to an obituary on his website and San Diego County Sheriff’s officials.
Nott’s partner of 30 years was by his side when he died at a hospital Tuesday from injuries that resulted from “an extraordinary and unforeseeable accident following a successful balloon flight and landing in Warner Springs,” according to the obituary.
“Julian was flying an experimental balloon that he invented, designed to test high-altitude technology,” the obituary said.
Deputies responded twice to the landing site where Nott was fatally injured near Chihuahua Valley Road and state Route 79, a remote area in northern San Diego County, Lt. Mike Rand said.
Around 12:45 p.m. Sunday, deputies were dispatched to the scene of a possible aircraft crash, but when they arrived they found Nott’s experimental balloon and pressurized cabin had made a soft landing in the area and no injuries were reported, Rand said.
The occupants of the aircraft told deputies they needed no further assistance and deputies left the scene, the lieutenant said.
Around 3:30 p.m. Sunday, dispatchers received a call from a person reporting that the two occupants of the balloon had suffered back injuries and one man was going in and out of consciousness, Rand said.
Witnesses told deputies that Nott and the other man were preparing the balloon’s cabin for retrieval when the passenger compartment detached and fell about 150 feet down an embankment, Rand said.
A sheriff’s helicopter responded to the scene and extricated Nott and the 64 year-old man from the passenger compartment, he said.
Both men were airlifted out of the area by a sheriff’s helicopter, then taken to a second helicopter that took them to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, Rand said.
An update on the 64-year-old man’s condition was not immediately available.
Nott set 79 world ballooning records and 96 British Records including rising higher than 55,000 feet in a hot air balloon, according to the obituary.
He lived in Santa Barbara, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.