Search Efforts Continue for Hot Air Balloon Incident

CAROLINE COUNTY, Va. - The Virginia State Police as well as other responding crews are searching for the three occupants of the hot air balloon crash.

According to a press release,

"Shortly before 8 p.m. Friday, three hot air balloons took off from Meadow Event Park as part of an ongoing hot air balloon festival. The balloons headed north to a designated landing zone in a field off Ruther Glen Road. Two of the balloons landed there safely. During its descent, the the third balloon got caught in a live utility line. This immediately caused a fire.

Based on witness accounts, the pilot attempted to regain control of the balloon and manage the fire. At one point, two of the passengers jumped from the basket. Witnesses say they heard an explosion and the fire continued to spread. The basket and then the balloon eventually separated.

Virginia State Police, Caroline County Sheriff's Office, Caroline County Fire and Rescue, and Henrico County Police spent the evening and overnight hours searching the area for the balloon's three occupants and the wreckage of the balloon and basket. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also responded to the scene Friday evening.The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has been notified. Searches have been conducted by air and on the ground of the rural, heavily-wooded terrain.

The investigation continues at the moment, as do the search efforts."

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