The balloon caught fire during flight and sent 16 people to their deaths. Very tragic end. Check out what caused the accident?
A hot air balloon carrying at least 16 people caught on fire and crashed in Central Texas on Saturday, federal officials said.
There doesn’t appear to be any survivors, according to the local sheriff.
“The balloon was occupied and it does not appear at this time that there were any survivors of the crash,” Caldwell County Sheriff Daniel Law said in a statement. “Investigators are determining the number and the identities of victims at this time.”
Erik Grosof with the National Transportation Safety Board said at a brief news conference Saturday that there are a “number of fatalities” but would not provide an exact number. He said there is “significant loss of life.”
The balloon was operated by Heart of Texas Hot Air Balloon Rides, according to the owner of the company’s Facebook account, NBC News reported. Heart of Texas Hot Air Balloon Rides has a Better Business Bureau rating of D+. The rating is mostly due to customers’ complaints about canceled flights.
Margaret Wylie lives about a quarter-mile from the crash site and told The Associated Press that she was letting her dog out Saturday morning when she heard a “pop, pop, pop.”
“I looked around and it was like a fireball going up,” she said, noting that the fireball was located under large power lines and almost high enough to reach the bottom of them.
Wylie, who called 911, said the weather seemed clear and that she frequently sees hot air balloons in the area.
Chris O’Neil, an NTSB spokesman, said it was “far too early to speculate about cause.”
“We go through our investigative process without any preconceived notions,” O’Neil told NBC News. “The facts lead us where they lead us.”