US hot air balloon crashes, all 16 passengers feared dead
At least 16 people have been feared killed after a large hot air balloon caught fire and crashed into a field in the US state of Texas.
The accident happened early Saturday morning near Lockhart, south of Austin, after a blaze broke out in the basket section of the balloon, according to Aviation officials.
“It does not appear at this time that there were any survivors,” the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office said.
Investigators have been sent to the scene to determine the number of victims and their identities.
“When the Emergency Responders and the Sheriff’s Office arrived it was apparent that the reported fire was the basket portion of a hot air balloon,” said the statement.
A photo was posted on social media reportedly showing the the balloon in the air with huge flames spurting underneath.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott expressed condolences to those affected by the crash and promised an investigation into the “heartbreaking tragedy.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, as well as the Lockhart community,” he said in a statement.
The incident is probably the second-deadliest balloon accident in history. The first hot air balloon crash occurred in Luxor, Egypt in 2013. The balloon caught fire when it was attempting to land. The accident killed 19 of the 21 passengers on board the balloon.