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

Improving Survival from Cardiac Arrest Using ACD-CPR + ITD

Using active compression-decompression CPR with an ITD has been shown to improve 1-year survival from cardiac arrest by 33%.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Tempe’s Drug Dilemma

Dealing with overdoses.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

I’m a Paramedic

Profile of a Northshore LIJ medic.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Riding with Busy Welsh Ambulances

EMS crews struggle under mounting pressures.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Albuquerque Unveils New Rescue Unit

Mayor and residents celebrate new ambulance.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Nightwatch Series Premiere Party

JEMS Editor-in-Chief A.J. Heightman attends the series premiere of A&E's new reality show, "Nightwatch."
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Ottawa Chemical Investigation

Chemicals and suspicious package are probed at two locations
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Cincinnati Overpass Collapse

Fatal pancake collapse occurs during demolition.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >