Police identify victims of fatal hot air balloon crash in New Mexico
UPDATED 10:45 AM PT – Sunday, June 27, 2021
Family and friends have been mourning the loss of five victims who were killed in a hot air balloon crash in New Mexico. Police in Albuquerque said the gondola of the balloon detached from the envelope on Saturday and hit a power line.
“Shortly after 7 am, officers received a call about a hot air balloon that crashed into powerlines,” Albuquerque Police Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos explained. “…Witnesses said that the balloon hit one of the high lines there and kind of rode the line a little bit before the gondola crashed into the street here.”
Officials say two men and three women were among those killed, including the pilot. One man was taken to the hospital in critical condition, but later succumbed to his injuries. Reports released the ages of the passengers, which ranged between 59 and 62-years-old.
Mayor Keller, APD and AFR provide update on this mornings hot air balloon crash. https://t.co/9MNr0hsyDb
— Albuquerque Police Department (@ABQPOLICE) June 26, 2021
Authorities said the basket fell 100 feet before crashing in the median of a busy street and catching on fire. More than 13,000 people experienced power outages as a result of the incident.
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller (R) offered his condolences to the families of the victims as well as any first responders and witnesses who may be dealing with trauma.
“We obviously can’t speak to any of the details as it’s all under investigation, but I do know that this is a tragedy that is uniquely felt and uniquely it’s hard at home here in Albuquerque and in the ballooning community,” he expressed. “It’s something that if you have ballooned, there are always things that can happen.”
Meanwhile, both the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating what caused the crash.