2 Dead, 1 Missing After Hot Air Balloon Catches Fire In Virginia

May 10, 2014
(This post was updated at 12:46 p.m. ET.)

Two people are dead and another is missing after a hot air balloon caught fire and crashed near Doswell, Va., on Friday night.

During a televised press conference on Saturday, Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said the operation had now transitioned into a recovery effort.

Geller said three hot air balloons took off at the same time. Two of them landed safely and one of them hit a power line while descending. The basket part caught fire.

WWBT-TV reports:

“Carrie Hager-Bradley was on her way home from the grocery store and saw the balloon on fire. She told NBC12’s Curt Autry she could hear cries from the people onboard.

” ‘They were just screaming for anybody to help them. “Help me, help me, sweet Jesus, help, I’m going to die — oh my God, I’m going to die,” ‘ Hager-Bradley told NBC12.

“Hager-Bradley went on to say her daughter witnessed what appeared to be one occupant of the balloon fall to the ground.”

The balloons were scheduled to be part of the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival, but organizers said because of the accident, the rest of the festival was canceled.

Geller said both the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are conducting investigations.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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