Two women and three men, including the pilot, died after the hot air balloon crashed into a power line and caught fire at about 7:00 a.m. on Saturday in Albuquerque
Advertisement
balloon crash
Credit: 7KOAT

Five people are dead after a hot air balloon crashed into a power line Saturday morning in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The balloon's basket caught fire and crashed into the median of a busy street near Central Ave. and Unser Blvd. at around 7:00 a.m. local time with five people onboard, according to KOAT.

Two men and two women were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, with the pilot being one of the male victims. The Albuquerque Police Department originally noted that the fifth passenger was in critical and unstable condition, but have now confirmed that he succumbed to his injuries after being transported to a local hospital.

Everyone onboard was reportedly between 40 and 60 years old.

Police spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos said that the balloon "skirted the tops of power lines," causing more than 13,000 homes to lose power, according to USA Today. New Mexico State Police also noted on Twitter that traffic in the area was shut down, advising locals to avoid the roads.

balloon crash
Credit: 7KOAT

In addition to state and local police, Albuquerque Fire Rescue was also called to the scene. The cause of the crash is currently unknown, but the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are handling the investigation.

Albuquerque has been dubbed the "hot air ballooning capital of the world," with optimal year-round conditions for ballooning. The city hosts the weeklong Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta every October, which sees about 600 balloons cover the sky, according to the event's website.

"Our balloonists tend to be very much experts at navigating, but sometimes we have these types of tragic accidents," said APD spokesperson Gallegos, according to USA Today.