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Sat, 10 May 2014 13:50:34 +0000
(DOSWELL, Va.) -- Authorities found the remains of one person who was on board a hot air balloon that crashed into a power line, setting it ablaze.
The remains, which haven't been identified, were found in a heavily-wooded area Saturday. Two people remain missing.
The crash happened during the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival shortly before 8 p.m. Friday at Meadow Event Park in Doswell, Va. The balloon and two others were about to land when one hit a power line, said Virginia State Police Public Relations Director Corinne Gellar.
No wreckage has been found as authorities concentrated their search in nearby Bagdad, Va., but a debris field has been located. Search crews involved in the recovery effort are doing a grid search.
Witnesses told State Police that the pilot tried regaining control of the balloon and that its two passengers jumped out of the gondola, said Gellar. The witnesses recalled hearing an explosion and seeing the gondola separate itself from the balloon.
Megan Pattie and Derick Childers joined friends at a nearby field to watch the festival when they saw the balloon hit the power line.
"It was pretty horrifying," said Pattie.
"We saw two passengers inside it and it kept going and got higher and higher and there was nothing we could do with them," said Childers.
Virginia State Police, Caroline County Sheriff’s Office, Caroline County Fire and Rescue and Henrico County Police are involved in the search. The Federal Aviation Administration was assisting and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.
The Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival has since been cancelled.
Officials for Meadow Event Park issued a statement, saying: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families of this tragic accident. The Meadow Event Park staff is devastated. It’s a shocking situation for everyone.”
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