Painting honors the five lives lost in last month’s hot air balloon crash

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s been nearly three weeks since a deadly balloon accident killed five people in Albuquerque. An Albuquerque man decided to put his skills to work in honor of the lives lost that day.



On that Saturday morning, David Charlie could hear the sirens from his backyard. As soon as he saw what happened, he knew what he needed to do. So, he started to sketch. The outline started as just a plain balloon but once he learned it was the Zia balloon that went down, he was able to personalize it.

Charlie added colors, clouds to the painting and the basket turned into a heart with a five inside. The painting honors Pilot Nick Meleski and the four passengers; Martin and Mary Martinez along with Susan and John Montoya.

“I cried sketching it out, it was really emotional doing it,” said David Charlie. Charlie says he didn’t personally know any of the riders or the pilot but he wanted to do something during a time where people felt helpless.

Charlie says the painting took him about two and a half weeks to finish. He is hoping to donate the painting. Right now, he is working with officials at the Albuquerque International Balloon Museum to have it showcased there.

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