NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – One of the pilots in the gas balloon crash in Texas Monday night said someone was shooting at them before they hit powerlines. According to Fox 4 in Dallas, Krystotf Zapart and Piotr Hala were competing in the Gordon Bennett gas balloon race which launched from Balloon Fiesta Park on Saturday.
The two were flying over Kaufman County southeast of the Dallas area when Zapart said they had to think fast realizing they may be mistaken for something else. “We heard more and more automatic guns, it was not one shot, it was do,do,do,do,do,do…do do do do do. He went on to say later, “Most people in the west, thinking about Chinese Spy Balloons. I think it is a big problem for us.”
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The two decided to land to avoid being shot. They tried to avoid an electric substation but after the balloon touched down, the hydrogen gas balloon hit the power lines. A local teacher and two others rushed to help the pilots. Just seconds after getting the pilots out, there was an explosion. “…If we stayed in the basket it would be end of life,” said Zapart.
Both pilots received bruises and burns while Halas broke bones in his legs and midsection. They are expected to make a full recovery.