5 Dead After a Hot-Air Balloon Strikes Power Line and Catches Fire in Albuquerque, New Mexico
The region's electric provider explained that the crash caused 19 outages and affected 13,777 customers. There is one survivor, who is in critical condition.
Update: The fifth victim has succumbed to his injuries, reports CNN. The victims have been identified as Nicholas Meleski, 62, Susan Montoya, 65. John Montoya, 61, Martin Martinez, 59, and his wife, Mary Martinez, 62.
Four people died, and one is critically injured after a hot-air balloon in New Mexico hit a power line.
The Albuquerque New Mexico Police Department tweeted out information about the accident, saying, “Our officers are responding to a hot air balloon crash in the area of Central Ave and Unser Blvd where a balloon appears to have hit a power line. Power is out in the area as a result of the balloon crash.”
They later wrote, “Unfortunately, 4 individuals died as a result of their wounds from the hot air balloon crash. One additional individual was transported to a local hospital and is currently in critical and unstable condition. @PNMtalk is on scene as power is still out in the area.”
The region's electric provider, PNM, later tweeted additional information about the incident. It explained that the crash caused 19 outages and affected 13,777 customers.
It later added, “APD confirmed fatalities from the hot air balloon incident. Everyone at PNM is deeply saddened by these tragic losses. We're thinking about the family & friends affected by today's event. We'll continue to do everything we can to support 1st responders in this evolving situation.”
A few hours later, PNM notified followers that power had been fully restored to customers affected by the outages.
APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos described in detail what happened to CNN. "The balloon hit the top wires — the gondola of the balloon skirted along the top wire, caught on fire, and crashed into the intersection,” he said. "Unfortunately, when police and fire officials arrived, they found four deceased on site."
So far, police have not publicly named the victims but state they are all between 40 and 60 years old. In addition, police believe the hot-air balloon pilot is one of the four that died.
"They're in pretty bad shape. Doctors at the hospital are working to save that individual," Gallegos lastly said. “It's just a very tragic situation. Our officers who arrived first on scene had a tough time when they saw what they saw. These things are just horrible anytime they happen."
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