ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – State police have released the names of all five passengers killed in Saturday morning’s fatal hot air balloon crash. Along with Martin and Mary Martinez is the pilot, Nicholas Meleski – who is known for his “Izia” balloon, seen at Balloon Fiesta every year. Meleski got his license in 1994.
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Susan and John Montoya, both from Albuquerque, also died in the crash. John was taken to the hospital after the crash, where he later died. Police say that the balloon descended toward the ground and struck an overhead powerline and that’s when the basket detached from the envelope and burst into flames.