A hot air balloon ride turned deadly when it crashed into a set of power lines and caught fire in New Mexico.
Five people are dead after a hot air balloon ride in Albuquerque, New Mexico, ran into a power line on Saturday morning. The balloon burst into flames, killing two women and three men, including the pilot.
Around 7 a.m., onlookers watched in horror as the once fun hot air balloon ride took a turn. The balloon’s basket caught on fire after running into a power line. It eventually crashed into the median of a high-traffic road near Central Ave. and Unser Blvd, reports KOAT.
The police department posted updates regarding the crash.
‘Our officers are responding to a hot air balloon crash in the area of Central Ave and Unser Blvd where a balloon appears to have hit a power line.”
Gilbert Gallegos, a spokesperson for the police department, revealed to USA Today that the hot air balloon “skirted the top of the power lines.”
The Albuquerque Police Department also noted that power was out for more than 13,000 homes in the nearby community as a result. Furthermore, the crash is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.
Officials, unfortunately, declared four passengers dead at the scene. However, one was quickly transported to a local hospital where he was in critical and unstable condition. According to the Albuquerque Police Department, they confirmed the man has also died as a result of his extensive injuries.
“The male adult who was transported to the hospital succumbed to his wounds. Our prayers go out to the friends and family of all five people who tragically lost their lives.”
The victims aboard the hot air balloon were reportedly all between the ages of 40 and 60.
Hot Air Ballooning Capital
Albuquerque is known for the usually safe and fun pastime. It has even dubbed the name the “hot air ballooning capital of the world”. PEOPLE notes that the New Mexico city had ideal ballooning weather all year.
Furthermore, every October since 1972, the city hosts the week-long Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The event attracts nearly 600 hot air balloons every year which beautifully takes to the skies. Around 10,000 to 20,000 spectators look on in awe. It is the largest balloon event in the world, reports the event’s website.
“Our balloonists tend to be very much experts at navigating, but sometimes we have these types of tragic accidents,” said Gallegos.