Bodies Recovered from Virginia Hot Air Balloon Tragedy - News - @ JEMS.com


Bodies Recovered from Virginia Hot Air Balloon Tragedy

Pilot and two passengers killed during weekend flight

 

 
 
 

LARRY O'DELL, Associated Press | | Monday, May 12, 2014



DOSWELL, Virginia (AP) — Searchers on Sunday found the body of the third victim from the crash of a hot air balloon that drifted into a power line, burst into flames and fell into a heavily wooded area in Virginia, police said.

Police have not released the victims' names, but family members and the University of Richmond said associate head coach Ginny Doyle and director of basketball operations Natalie Lewis were passengers on the balloon that crashed Friday.

JEMS: Hot Air Balloon Burns over Virginia

Donald Kirk on Sunday said his son, Daniel T. Kirk, was piloting the balloon.

The website of Daniel T. Kirk's company says he had more than 20 years' experience as a hot air balloon pilot. The Starship Adventures site also said Kirk had a commercial balloon pilot license issued by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Steve Hoffmann, who said he built the Eagle balloon that Kirk was piloting and taught him to fly, called Kirk "one of the nicest guys in the world" and a consummate professional.

"He was very careful," Hoffmann said. "Something definitely went wrong. This is not the kind of flying Dan would do."

Witnesses to the crash described a harrowing sight on the special preview night for the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival, which was set to open Saturday. The festival was canceled. About 740 people attended the preview event.

The balloon was among 13 that lifted off Friday night and was approaching a landing site nearby. Two of the balloons landed safely before the third hit the live power line, according to police.

The pilot attempted to retain control of the balloon and snuff the fire and two passengers either jumped or fell from the gondola, state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said.

She said another pilot interviewed by investigators described how the pilot tried to open vents to release extra-hot air in an attempt to keep the balloon from rising faster.

"Based on witness accounts, he did everything he could to try to save the passengers' lives," Geller said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating the crash.

Troy Bradley, past president of the Balloon Federation of America, said most serious accidents on balloons — including fires, electrocution or baskets becoming severed — happen after hitting power lines. Most of the time it's due to pilot error, he said.

___

Associated Press writers David Koenig in Dallas and Steve Szkotak and Hank Kurz Jr. in Richmond contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Mobile Category: 
News



Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, hot air balloon

 
What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Advancement

This is the seventh year of the EMS 10 Innovators in EMS program, jointly sponsored by Physio-Control and JEMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Wesleyan Students Hospitalized for Overdose

11 students transported to local hospitals.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Denver Medic's Family Says Job Stress Contributed to Suicide

Veteran of over 25 years took her own life after a call.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Denver First Responders Join to Remember Paramedic

Veteran medic took her own life after fatal accident.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Rigs Going in Service from EMS Today 2015

Snap shots of some of the vehicles at EMS Today that will be on the streets soon
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Florida Hospital Fire

Fire halts construction project at Tampa cancer center.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


More Product Videos >