Hot air balloon pilot details how he saved others after balloon unexpectedly took off

CAREFREE, AZ - The pilot of a hot-air balloon that unexpectedly took flight during a Valley festival Saturday is speaking out, detailing how he protected himself and others at the event.

Wayne Bond, 71, was in the basket of his hot-air balloon Saturday night during the Carefree-Cave Creek Balloon Festival when a tether snapped, causing he and his balloon to take flight.

"It sounded like a rifle shot," pilot Bond said.

Bond told ABC15 after the tether snapped, the balloon took flight and that's when the pilot sprung into action.

"I elected to fly away rather than to hurt anybody in the crowd," Bond said.

Bond flew the balloon over the festival crowds, landing about a half-mile away. A veteran balloon pilot, Bond estimated he's taken nearly 8,000 flights. He credited his quick thinking to an experience he witnessed nearly 20 years ago, when another pilot's tether broke as well.

"I heard this once before, years ago," he said. "So the second it happened I pretty well knew what was happening."

No one was injured in the incident.

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