ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – On Friday, the National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report into New Mexico’s deadliest hot air balloon crash. All four passengers and the pilot died.
- Toxicology report finds pilot in fatal balloon crash had drugs in system
- Balloon pilot remembered for his unique, positive personality
- Hot air balloon crash victims all had ties to Albuquerque Public Schools
- Vigil held for victims of Saturday’s hot air balloon crash
- Several bystanders try to help victims in hot air balloon crash
- Saturday’s balloon crash marks 4th deadly crash in over a decade
- 2 victims identified in Saturday’s hot air balloon crash
- Fifth victim dies in SW Albuquerque hot air balloon crash, cause under investigation
- Painting honors the five lives lost in last month’s hot air balloon crash
According to the NTSB, surveillance video from local businesses shows the balloon, from the company Cameron Balloons, was climbing near the intersection around 7 a.m. Officials say the balloon is then seen descending, crashing into the powerlines as it crossed perpendicular to the wires.
The report says an arc in a high-tension powerline caused the envelope to separate from the gondola, which fell to the ground. Some witnesses rushed to help. “We saw all [of] the people, so we rushed to get a fire extinguisher and try to turn off everything so we could get to them,” said Josh Perez, who witnessed the crash.
The envelope was found in a backyard a couple of miles away. The preliminary report says the wind speed at the time was 11 knots, or just under 13 miles an hour. It warns this info could change and may contain errors.
The crash killed pilot Nick Meleski, passengers Martin and Mary Martinez, and John and Susan Montoya.