Hot air balloon crash kills five in Albuquerque, New Mexico

The balloon in Albuquerque

It’s thought the balloon hit a power line before crashing to the ground

Five people have been killed after a hot air balloon hit a power line in Albuquerque, New Mexico, early on Saturday morning.

The basket the passengers were riding in detached from the balloon and crashed, according to the city’s police department.

Witnesses on Twitter described seeing the balloon fall to the ground in a completely deflated state.

The incident cut off power to more than 13,000 people in the area.

The balloon hit the power line just after 07:00 (13:00 GMT) on Saturday, police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said.

Two men, including the pilot and two women, died in the crash. The fifth passenger was taken to hospital in critical condition, but later died of his injuries.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the basket fell about 100ft (30m) and crashed on a street before catching fire. The balloon floated off before coming to rest elsewhere.

Joshua Perez was in the area when he heard the crash. He rushed to the scene with another man and helped turn off the propane tank. Mr Perez told KOB4 News that those inside the basket were not moving.

“To see a balloon go down like this, it’s heart-breaking,” he said.

The cause of the accident is being investigated by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.

The deadliest balloon crash in the US killed 16 people in 2016 in Texas. It led the FAA to take steps to try to increase the safety of hot air balloon tourism.

Other deadly hot air balloon accidents

  • February 2013: A hot air balloon catches fire and crashes in Luxor, Egypt, killing 19 foreign tourists

  • January 2012: A hot air balloon strikes power lines and explodes near Carterton in New Zealand, before crashing to the ground – all 11 people on board are killed

  • October 2009: Four Dutch tourists die in Guangxi, China, after a hot air balloon catches fire and crashes

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