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Father dead in Swiss hot-air balloon crash was Malibu's 'royalty'

August 07, 2013|By Martha Groves and Joseph Serna

A hot-air balloon crash that killed the patriarch of a prominent Malibu family occurred when the craft floated into power lines and fell 165 feet to the ground, police said.

Grant Adamson, a scion of Malibu's founding family, died early Tuesday when the hot-air balloon carrying him and his family crashed near the western Swiss town of Montbovon.

Swiss police said the Adamsons were on a vacation outing when the balloon crashed after a two-hour flight from the town of Chateau-d'Oex.

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Adamson, 55, died at the scene. His wife, Terry, and two daughters, ages 20 and 24, were evacuated by helicopter to a hospital with life-threatening injuries.

"If there were royalty in Malibu, it would be the Adamsons," Malibu Mayor Joan House told NBC-Los Angeles.

The Adamson family members were pillars in the Pepperdine University community, the school said on its Facebook page.

“The Pepperdine community is deeply saddened by the passing of Grant Adamson and by the injuries sustained by his wife Terry and daughters Lauren and Megan,” read a message posted on the school’s page Tuesday evening.

It continued: “The Adamsons are beloved, longtime members of the Pepperdine family: Grant was the founding member of Pepperdine’s Crest Advisory Board, Terry is Distinguished Jurist in Residence at the School of Law, Lauren is a second-year MBA student at the Graziadio School of Business and Management, and Megan is a junior at Seaver College. We hold each of them in our hearts during this tragic time and pray especially for their healing.”

Grant Adamson was with Mariposa Land Co., which holds properties that have been in his family's hands for more than a century. It was the Adamson family's donation of vacant land that brought Pepperdine to Malibu in 1972.

"He was an incredible gentleman," said Steve Soboroff, a developer who dealt with Adamson many times over the years.

The Adamson daughters are expected to survive, NBC reported. The condition of the mother was unclear.

The 65-year-old pilot also was seriously injured, police said.

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Twitter: @MarthaGroves

martha.groves@latimes.com

Joseph.serna@latimes.com

@josephserna

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