ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico: Five people were killed on Saturday when the hot air balloon they were riding in crashed in a residential neighborhood.
Authorities believe that winds blew the balloon into power lines, and it caught fire.
The balloon pilot and three passengers were pronounced dead at the scene, while the fourth passenger died at a local hospital.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration reports that the basket the passengers and pilot were riding in crashed onto a street corner in the city’s West Side neighborhood near a pharmacy, some six miles west of the Albuquerque International Sunport Airport.
During the rapid descent, the balloon separated from the basket and fell to earth elsewhere, police said.
While the identities of the victims have not been disclosed, the ages of the victims are between 40 and 60 years old, police said. No one on the ground was injured.
Witnesses have said the balloon struck a power line shortly after 7 a.m.
“We know from experience here in Albuquerque that sometimes winds kick up or things happen that make it difficult for balloons to navigate,” Albuquerque Police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos told reporters during a news conference.
Both the Federal Aviation Administration and local police are investigating the fatal crash.
Following the crash, local media reported a power outage in the area darkening 13,000 homes and businesses.