Hot air balloonists are being urged to stay away from powerlines following a number of incidents.

Western Power Distribution (WPD) have issued the warning after responding to three incidents in which hot air balloons have come into contact with overhead lines in the last 18 months.

One incident, in Chipping Sodbury, saw a balloon clip overhead lines while descending.

Although ballooning accidents are rare, almost 40 per cent of those reported involve contact with overhead power lines, resulting in electric shocks, burn injuries and, in some cases, death.

Eddie Cochrane, WPD safety adviser, said: “While balloon accidents are relatively few and far between, it is important to follow some simple but vital rules to stay safe, such as carrying binoculars to spot overhead power lines and avoiding contact with any electrical equipment, as even low voltages can kill.

“What balloon users may not consider is that balloon envelopes, wires, ropes, fuel cylinders, hoses and baskets can all conduct electricity.

"Overhead power lines often carry extremely high voltages and are capable of cutting through materials such as balloon fabric like a plasma cutter.”