Hot air balloon accident in Texas kills 16

By JIM VERTUNO
Associated Press

LOCKHART, Texas (AP) - No one appeared to survive a hot air balloon crash in Central Texas, authorities said Saturday.

At least 16 people were on board the balloon, which Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said caught fire before crashing into a pasture shortly after 7:40 a.m. Saturday near Lockhart.

The Caldwell County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that investigators are determining the number of victims and their identities.

The FAA is investigating, Lunsford said. National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Eric Weiss said that his agency's investigative team should arrive later Saturday. Weiss said the safety agency knows "very, very little right now" about what happened.

The land near the crash site is mostly farmland, with corn crops and grazing cattle. Cutting through that farmland is a row of massive high-capacity transmission lines about 4 to 5 stories tall. The site of the crash appears to be right below the overhead lines, though authorities haven't provided further details about what happened

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott asked in a statement that "all of Texas to join us in praying for those lost."

Lockhart is about 30 miles south of Austin.

 

Associated Press writers Jamie Stengle in Dallas and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in Washington contributed to this report.

This story has been corrected to show that the accident happened about 7:40 a.m., not 8:40 a.m.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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