UPDATE: All victims located from Doswell hot-air balloon accident

UPDATE: Remains discovered, search continues after hot air balloon fire

CAROLINE COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) — State and local police are still searching for the wreckage of a hot-air balloon that caught fire after striking a power line at the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival Friday evening.

The accident was first reported by Facebook viewers, and police confirmed they also received calls, with the first made at 7:56 p.m.

The incident is reported to have happened near Carmel Church Road, near Meadow Event Park in Caroline County.

PHOTO GALLERY:

PHOTO GALLERY: Hot-air balloon hits power line, bursts into flames

State police confirmed that the balloon hit a power line. Police said that caused the gondola and the balloon to separate after witnesses heard two explosions. They are searching two different sites.

Three hot-air balloons took off from Meadow Event Park and headed northeast to a pre-approved landing zone about two miles away from the park.

Two landed safely at a designated spot. As the third balloon was
landing, state police said it struck a power line and burst into flames. 

The pilot immediately began trying to get the fire under control, and began procedures to open the top of the balloon, since the added heat of the fire caused the balloon to rapidly rise.

CBS 6 spoke with Sean Robinson, who saw the accident happen, said that they lost power at their home.

Carrie Bradley was with her family when they saw the balloon and pulled over to snap a photo. Then they saw people jumping from what Bradley said was hundreds of feet up in the air. Bradley said that her daughter was traumatized afterward. [WATCH: Woman says balloon fire victims screamed 'Jesus, help us. We’re going to die' before jumping] 

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The FAA is assisting in the investigation, but due to severe storms in the area, search planes were not in the air for a couple of hours, police said. After storms passed, a search plane was deployed.

At the time of the incident, it was daylight and it was not raining in Doswell. The sun set at 8:07 p.m. and the accident was reported at least 10 minutes before that.

Courtesy Carrie Hager Bradley

Courtesy: Carrie Hager Bradley

The Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival released a statement on Facebook, saying that a pilot and at least two passengers were missing. 

CBS 6 has taken multiple calls throughout the night from around the country, with people inquiring of their loved ones who may have been on the balloon.

We have been told by a fiancee and friend that two local women are unaccounted for, who were at the balloon festival and who were photographed getting onto the balloon.

This was the inaugural event for Richmond. The first night kicked off with live music, food and drinks. Hot air balloon teams from all over the United States were expected to participate. 

The event website page says that Friday was supposed to be a special limited-ticket happy hour to watch balloon teams take off in flight. Tickets for this event were advance-sale only and limited to 1,500 people, based on the website info.

Police are asking anyone who saw the balloon — or may have information that could help them locate the crash site — to call 804-994-5754.

Nick Dutton May 10, 20141:58 am

Nick Dutton May 10, 20141:58 am

Scott Wise May 9, 201411:58 pm

Scott Wise May 9, 201411:57 pm

Scott Wise May 9, 201411:56 pm

Scott Wise May 9, 201411:44 pm

CBS 6 reporter Melissa Hipolit reports on people who fear their loved ones were in the balloon.

Scott Wise May 9, 201411:39 pm

CBS 6 reporter Jon Burkett spoke to a witness to the balloon fire.

Nick Dutton May 9, 201411:37 pm

Witnesses then reported hearing two explosions. At one
point, the balloon and gondola separated and the balloon took off at a high rate of speed.

Nick Dutton May 9, 201411:36 pm

Virginia State Police said three hot-air balloons took off from
Meadow Event Park Friday night and headed northeast to a pre-approved landing
zone about two miles away
from the park. Two landed safely at a designated spot. As the third balloon was
landing, state police said it struck a power line and burst into flames. The pilot
immediately began to trying to get the fire under control, and began procedures
to open the top of the balloon – since the added heat of the fire caused the balloon
to rapidly rise.

Scott Wise May 9, 201411:30 pm

This is the Virginia State Police press update about 10 p.m. Friday night.

Scott Wise May 9, 201411:07 pm

Alix Bryan May 9, 201410:52 pm

Alix Bryan May 9, 201410:46 pm

Alix Bryan May 9, 201410:33 pm

Scott Wise May 9, 201410:09 pm

Scott Wise May 9, 201410:08 pm

State police have idea of who was on missing balloon based on interview with families.

Scott Wise May 9, 201410:05 pm

Virginia State Police press conference lasted less than 5 minutes. Promised updates throughout the evening as they come in.

Scott Wise May 9, 201410:04 pm

Virginia State Police: As many as three people (one pilot, two passengers) riding in balloon.

Scott Wise May 9, 201410:04 pm

Virginia State Police: The FAA is assisting in the investigation. Due to severe storms, search planes are not in the air.

Scott Wise May 9, 201410:03 pm

Virginia State Police: Based on witness accounts, the gondola did catch fire and hot air balloon did crash. So far, no wreckage found. No deaths confirmed.

Scott Wise May 9, 201410:02 pm

State Police are actively searching for hot air balloon wreckage.

Scott Wise May 9, 20149:56 pm

Scott Wise May 9, 20149:48 pm

Scott Wise May 9, 20149:44 pm

Scott Wise May 9, 20149:43 pm

Nick Dutton May 9, 20149:42 pm

Karen B. posted on the CBS 6 Facebook page that “a hot air balloon that looked like it was burned flew over our home off of Dry Bridge road about 2 hours ago.”

She said she did not think it was on fire, but that she and her roommate thought they saw black smoke above the balloon.

Nick Dutton May 9, 20149:41 pm

WTVR.com will be streaming the news conference. WATCH HERE: WTVR.com/LIVE2

Nick Dutton May 9, 20149:41 pm

Nick Dutton May 9, 20149:28 pm

Nick Dutton May 9, 20149:16 pm

http://twitter.com/CBS6/status/464935971163627520

Nick Dutton May 9, 20149:11 pm

Melissa Hipolit reports crews believe the basket went down in Ruther Glen.  

Nick Dutton May 9, 20149:07 pm

Melissa Hipolit reports a happy hour preview was scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival. Twenty balloon teams from across the country are scheduled to take part in the festival.

Nick Dutton May 9, 20149:05 pm

Nick Dutton May 9, 20149:00 pm

Nick Dutton May 9, 20148:59 pm

“At 7:56 p.m., Virginia State Police were notified of a possible hot-air balloon crash near Meadow Event Park in Caroline County. State police are responding to the area to search for a crashed balloon. At this time we have no confirmation of injuries or deaths,”Virginia State Police Public Relations Director Corinne Geller wrote in a news release.

4 comments

  • tabatha

    i really hope they are searching throughout the whole night for these people. i cant even imagine what they saw/felt one in their own.

  • athynz

    She does, the daughter does, the family does – and anyone with an ounce of compassion does. Why in the heck would you even make this type of comment you trolling POS?

Comments are closed.

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