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Newlyweds Among 16 Victims of Texas Hot Air Balloon Crash


Newlyweds Among 16 Victims of Texas Hot Air Balloon Crash (Facebook/Newspath)

A couple of newlyweds were among the passengers who died tragically this weekend in a hot air balloon crash.

Matt and Sunday Rowan were among the estimated 16 people who perished near Lockhart, Texas.

The father of Sunday's eldest son told CNN the Rowans were married in February. "Sunday was a very social person," Brent Jones said. "They have hundreds and hundreds of friends."

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The ride was a birthday present from Sunday to Matt, which she purchased last year.

Also named among the victims was the pilot, Alfred "Skip" Nichols, who worked for Heart of Texas Balloon Rides.

The crash occurred before 8 a.m. near Lockhart, where Federal Aviation Administration officials said the hot air balloon went down in a pasture.

Authorities said the balloon likely struck high voltage power lines that cut through the pasture.

911 callers first believed a vehicle had crashed.

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However, when first responders arrived at the scene, they found the basket portion of a hot air balloon on fire, according to the AP.

Saturday's tragedy is unusual in ballooning. In the decade between 2002-2012, NTSB data shows 16 people died in hot air balloon accidents in the U.S.

The FAA and NTSB are investigating.

Lockhart is about a 30 mile dive south from Austin.

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