4 killed, 1 injured in hot air balloon crash in Arizona – NBC Los Angeles

Four people were killed and another seriously injured after a hot air balloon crashed Sunday morning near Eloy, Arizona, officials said.

According to an Eloy police press release, there were 13 people in the balloon gondola — eight skydivers, one operator and four passengers.

The crash happened around 7:50 a.m. Sunday in a rural desert area about 60 miles (97 km) south of Phoenix.

Several people made 911 calls to report the crash.

The incident occurred after eight skydivers had ejected from the balloon.

“What we do know at this time is that the skydivers were able to exit the balloon without incident and complete their planned skydiving event, and shortly thereafter the balloon crashed to the ground in a catastrophic event,” said Eloy Police Chief Byron Gwaltney. .

According to an eyewitness, the object of the hot air balloon was straight up and down as it came down and the impact was high.

Three people were taken to area hospitals, where they died. One person died on the spot in the accident.

The man was taken to a trauma center in Phoenix in critical condition, Powell said.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are investigating the incident. Information about the balloon's flight plan, point of departure and destination is not available. Investigators are talking to witnesses and reviewing video of the incident to piece together what led up to the crash.

The names of the victims are being withheld pending notification of their next of kin, police said.

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