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Hot Air Balloon Catches Fire Mid-Air In Tragic Accident; 2 Dead, 1 Missing

Sat, May 10, 2014 1:11pm EDT by 1 Comment
Hot AIr Balloon Fire Virginia
Courtesy of Twitter/Jim Cox

This is so sad. In Richmond Virginia, three people got into a hot air balloon at the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival which then caught in a live electrical wire and erupted into flames. Police have found the remains of two of the passengers, but one has yet to be found.

In Richmond, Virginia, on the evening of May 9, a hot air balloon got caught in a live electrical wire and then burst into flames. One eyewitness claims that she heard somebody screaming, “Help me, help me, sweet Jesus, help, I’m going to die — oh my God, I’m going to die,” according to NBC12. Read on for more details of this sad, scary story.

Hot Air Balloon From The Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival In Virginia Erupts Into Flames; 1 Dead, 2 Missing

A pilot and two passengers got into one of three hot air balloons which would tragically never end up in its designated landing area. The gondola (the basket) became separated from the balloon, and neither has been found.

“As the third balloon made its descent, the balloon made contact with a live utility wire that in turn sparked a fire,” Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Gellar said in a press conference on the evening of May 9. “The fire spread quickly.”

Cole Holocker, a college student and eyewitness, tweeted the following:

He later told NBC News that “There was nothing below the balloon. It looked like the basket had burned away.[The balloon] was shrinking. As it started to lose air out of it, it collapsed to one side … and then it started falling at a faster rate, and then it fell behind the tree line.”

Hot Air Balloon Accident: Eyewitness Heard Occupants Screaming For Help

While the Virginia police’s search was originally a rescue mission, it has now become a recovery mission after one of the missing were found dead. Horrifingly, the remains were so badly burned that police were unable to identify which of the balloon’s passengers it was.

As of the morning of May 10, another body was found by the 100-person team combing the densely wooded area for the occupants of the hot air balloon, NBC News is reporting.

The names of the balloon’s occupants have yet to be released, and we cannot imagine how scary this must be for the victims’ families.

While search was limited to the ground at the time of the tragic accident, air support from both Virginia State Police and Henrico Country Police were brought in, but their search has yet to turn up anything more.

Our thoughts go out to the occupants of the balloon and their families during this difficult time, and we hope that the other occupant is found soon.

— Amanda Michelle Steiner

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