Sharjah: Twenty-two tourists, including a child, were aboard a hot-air balloon that was involved in an accident in Sharjah’s Al Madam desert area early on Saturday, Sharjah Police said yesterday.

The balloon had taken off from Dubai.
Sharjah Police have referred officials of a Dubai-based company, Balloon Adventures Emirates, which owns the balloon, to the public prosecution for further investigation.
Five tourists who were injured in the incident were discharged from the hospital the same day, while the pilot is still receiving treatment and his condition is said to be stable.
The Sharjah Police operations room received a call around 9.10am on Saturday saying that a hot-air balloon carrying 22 foreign tourists was involved in an accident in the desert area.
Police patrols and paramedics rushed to the scene. 
The injured were identified as the Dutch pilot and five passengers, including four Chinese women and a German man. 
“The balloon’s pilot, who sustained severe injuries, was airlifted to Al Qasimi Hospital in Sharjah, while the five passengers, whose injuries were minor, were taken by the National Ambulance to Al Dhaid Hospital, where they received the necessary
treatment and discharged on the same day,” an official statement said yesterday.
Landing deemed proper
“Upon inspection of the balloon, it was found that the pilot had landed properly, touching the ground three times before finally settling down. However, the balloon was soon blown on its side and dragged 24 feet by high winds that swept the area that morning. 
“Initial investigation indicates that, during that time, the pilot sustained fourth-degree burns from the balloon’s flame. However, his condition is currently stable.”
The balloon was confiscated and the manager of the company summoned for investigation. 
Adam McEwan, a partner of the company, issued a statement explaining the incident.
 “After landing, there was a technical malfunction with the burner. Instead of switching off, it flashed in the direction of the pilot. It was actually at the conclusion of the flight as he stood up that it misfired and unfortunately hit him.”
Balloon Adventures Emirates claims it has been operating in the UAE for more than 11 years.
Experienced hand
The company told Gulf News the pilot is one of the world’s most experienced commercial balloonists with more than 2,200 flights over the past 20 years.
Meanwhile, an official at  Al Qasimi Hospital told Gulf News that the Dutch pilot, identified as J.H., 41, sustained skull and jaw fractures, in addition to serious burns on different part of his body. 
Ahmad Bin Khadim, director of Al Dhaid Hospital, told Gulf News that the hospital received five people around 10.45am on Saturday, including three Chinese women, a nine-year-old Chinese girl and one German man. 
The hospital staff took X-rays of all five people and, after they had received necessary medical attention, they were discharged from hospital around 1pm, Bin Khadim said.