16 killed in Texas hot-air balloon crash
SIXTEEN people were killed when a hot-air balloon crashed in a fiery blaze on a rural field in central Texas, one of the deadliest such accidents in history.
The balloon burst into flames and plummeted to earth soon after dawn outside Lockhart, some 50 kilometres (31 miles) from Austin, Lynn Lunsford of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement on July 30.
“When the Emergency Responders and the Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene, it was apparent that the reported fire was the basket portion of a hot-air balloon,” the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office said.
The Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed that the 16 people on board had died, according to the Austin American-Statesman and other US media.
Reporters at the scene and passersby were kept back from the actual crash site.
Local residents speculated that the balloon had struck a power line that runs prominently across the field.
“I didn’t see the balloon hit. I just heard the popping. And I heard the popping, and then the next thing I knew is the fireball went up,” said Margaret Wylie, a 66-year-old who witnessed the crash. –
Authorities investigate the site of the hot-air balloon accident in Maxwell, Texas, on July 30.