Deadly hot air balloon accident kills 3 - New York News

Deadly hot air balloon accident kills 3

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) - It was a horrifying start to what was supposed to be a fun-filled weekend.

A terrible accident involving a hot-air balloon occurred on Friday when it drifted into power lines and caught fire.

All three passengers on board were killed.

The balloon was part of a festival that was set to begin on Saturday.

Authorities in Caroline County, Virginia say the accident happened just hours before the scheduled start of the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival, 25 miles north of Richmond.

State police say they've recovered all three bodies.

They've also found debris from the balloon.

Two members of the University of Richmond's athletic staff were killed in the crash.

Associate head coach Ginny Doyle and director of basketball operations Natalie Lewis.

"Words cannot begin to express our sorrow," Keith Gill, the school's athletic director, said in a statement. "We are all stunned by the tragic news. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their loved ones."

Donald Kirk on Sunday said his son, Daniel T. Kirk, was piloting the balloon. The balloon was registered to Daniel at an address in the Dover, Delaware, area. His company's website said he had been a hot air balloon pilot for more than 20 years and had a commercial balloon pilot license issued by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The balloon was flying as part of a special kickoff celebration for the weekend festival.

Witnesses say it drifted into a power line, burst into flames and then crashed in the woods.

Carrie Bradley was on her way home from the grocery store when she saw the flames.

She says it's something she'll never forget.

“The passengers were screaming please dear God sweet Jesus help us we're going to die oh my God please help us please help us. It was the most horrific thing I've ever witnessed" she said.

Organizers subsequently canceled the rest of the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival.
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