LOCKHART: On Sunday, 16 people were killed when a hot air balloon crashed in a fiery blaze on field in central Texas. The Hot air balloon burst into flames and come down to earth in the town of Lockhart which is some 50 kilometers south of Austin.
The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office said on Tweeter that When the Sheriff’s Officers and the Emergency Responders reached on the scene, the reported fire was the basket portion of a hot air balloon.
According to the US media and Austin American-Statesman that The Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed that 16 people on board had died.
At the scene, Reporters who gathered on a country road were kept at arm’s length from the actual crash site.
Local residents told that the balloon had struck a power line that runs prominently across the field.
A 66 years old lady, Margaret Wylie who lives nearby and witnessed the hot air balloon crash told TWC News Austin that I did not see the hot air balloon hit with the power line. I just heard the popping, then the next thing I knew is the fireball went up.
FAA investigators were traveling to the hot air balloon crash site, Lunsford said, with the National Transportation Safety Board was taking charge of the probe.
Erik Grosof who is the NTSB lead investigator said that the evidence response team of FBI in the city of San Antonio was asked to assist in the investigation.
Greg Abbott who is the Governor of Texas offered condolences to those affected by the crash.
He said in a statement that Our prayers and thoughts are with the victims and their families, as well as the Lockhart community.
‘Big ball of flames’
Don Schulle who stand on the edge of the field where the balloon crashed told local TV station that It was a fire, a big ball of flames. You could tell nothing of what it was.
The 16 deaths make the balloon accident the deadliest on record in the United States. Earlier, the highest number of fatalities in a single US hot air balloon crash was just 6.
In 2013, 19 tourists killed in a sunrise hot air balloon flight over Egypt’s ancient temple city of Luxor caught fire and crashed.
The NTSB investigated 760 such accidents between 1964 and 2013. Of those, 67 were fatal. However, the hot air balloon crashed is rare in the US.
The propane gas is used by the Hot air balloons to heat air that keeps them afloat. They are regulated by the FAA, which requires balloon pilots to be certified and for balloons to have air worthiness certificates.
The FAA inspects the balloons used for commercial ventures after 100 hours of flight time or at least once a year.