Descendant of One of Malibu's Founding Families Grant Adamson Dies in Balloon Crash

Adamson and his family were vacationing in Switzerland when their hot-air balloon crashed.

Grant Adamson, a descendant of one of Malibu's founding families, died early Tuesday in a hot-air balloon crash in Switzerland.

Adamson and his family were on vacation when their hot-air balloon collided with power lines and fell 165 feet to the ground near the Swiss town of Montbovon.

Adamson, 55, died at the scene while wife Terry Adamson, 55, and their two daughters, 24 and 20, were evacuated and are in the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

The Swiss police have opened an investigation into the accident.

Adamson was with Mariposa Land Co. and on the board of Pepperdine University's Crest Associates, a community charity group for the university. Merritt H. Adamson was among the family members who donated 138 acres of undeveloped ranch in 1968, which was the foundation of Pepperdine's Malibu campus.

"I'm really saddened by this tragic death, and we all appreciate all that his family has done for the university," said Crest Associates vice chancellor Louis Drobnick. "I knew his grandfather Merritt, who died in his late 50s, too."

Adamson’s family built Malibu’s iconic Adamson House in 1930, a Spanish revival that is often referred to as the "Taj Mahal of Tile" due to its abundant use of ceramic Malibu Potteries tiles. The state bought the property in 1969 with the intention of razing it to make additional beach parking. The Malibu Historical Society was formed in response, and the home, which is open to the public, became a California Historical Landmark in 1985.