Hot Air Balloon Catches Fire at Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival in Virginia … Pilot and Two Passengers Missing (Update: Two Bodies Recovered, One Still Missing)(Update: Third Body Found)

 

TRAGEDY …

A pilot and two passengers are missing after fiery hot air balloon crash in Virginia at the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival Friday night at about 8 pm in Meadow Event Park in Doswell, VA. Authorities are saying that the balloon’s gondola caught fire after it hit a power line. According to witnesses, after the balloon erupted into flames, there were screams for help, then explosions.  Search efforts were hampered by darkness and the heavily wooded area.  Two members of the University of Richmond women’s basketball staff  were aboard the balloon. One victim is being identified as Natalie Lewis, the director of basketball operations for the Richmond Spiders. The balloon captain was ID’s as Dan Kirk.

Due to the terrible incident, the remainder of the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival has been cancelled.

Two members of the University of Richmond women’s basketball staff were passengers on a hot air balloon that crashed in Virginia Friday night, CBS News has confirmed.

One victim, Natalie Lewis, was the director of basketball operations for the Richmond Spiders. Her parents arrived in Richmond Saturday from their hometown of Buffalo, New York, CBS News’ Mark Albert reports.

Friends of the balloon captain, Dan Kirk, called him a true ambassador to the sport of hot air ballooning.

The balloon’s basket caught fire after touching a power line near Doswell, Virginia, north of Richmond, the state capital.

UPDATE I: 2 bodies found, 1 missing after hot air balloon burns.

More than 100 state troopers and deputies searched for the third occupant of a hot air balloon that crashed in flames at a Virginia balloon festival, killing the other two people on board, state police said Saturday.

Witnesses captured photographs of the balloon after it drifted into power lines, burst into flames Friday night and crashed into the countryside about 25 miles north of Richmond. Some reported seeing two people either jump or fall from the basket at a dizzying height.

The bodies were found about 1,500 yards apart in a heavily wooded area, Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said Saturday afternoon.

UPDATE II: Third body found after hot air balloon Crash.

Authorities have found the remains of the third occupant of the hot air balloon that burst into flames at a Virginia festival, police said Sunday.

Now investigators are trying to determine what made the balloon drift into power lines, catch fire and crash, killing the pilot and two passengers.



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