Balloon Crashes At Air Base

A hot air balloon carrying 13 people struck a power line and crashed, killing one person and injuring at least eight others aboard.

The balloon split apart when it hit the power line at Kirtland Air Force Base. Its extra-large wicker gondola separated from the balloon and plunged 18 feet.

Three or four of those hurt were critically injured, and most of the others sustained injuries including broken bones and cuts, said Col. Jim Stevens, a Kirtland spokesman.

The accident occurred during the Kodak International Balloon Fiesta, but the balloon that crashed was not registered with the event, a spokesperson said.

The names and conditions of those injured in the crash were not immediately available.

A medical investigator was called to the crash scene, a remote desert area of the base near a road.

Hundreds of hot air balloons are in the city for the 27th annual international balloon fiesta, which launched Saturday.

The fiesta temporarily put a hold on flying events at the balloon fiesta field Monday morning because of winds, but some pilots were flying at their own discretion during that time.

University Hospital spokesman Don Butterfield said a 50-year-old woman and a 65-year-old man arrived at the hospital by helicopter, and four others were sent to the hospital by ambulance. Garrity said two others were taken to Presbyterian Hospital.

The balloon was flying in the third day of the annual balloon fiesta in Albuquerque when it went down, knocking out power to the base.

The first day of the Balloon Fiesta had gone off without a hitch.

Balloons are launched. (KRQE)
Hundreds of beautiful balloons, a sea of cheering spectators, and a soaring spirit filled the launch of the annual event, Correspondent Shelley Bruner of CBS Affiliate KRQE-TV in Albuquerque, N.M., reported.

Many of those who attend the event say that the best part about the Balloon Fiesta is that people come from all over the country -- and the world, for that matter -- to see the hot-air balloons take off.
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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