Preliminary report released for deadly New Mexico balloon crash

West

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – On Friday, the National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report into New Mexico’s deadliest hot air balloon crash. All four passengers and the pilot died.

According to the NTSB, surveillance video from local businesses shows the balloon, from the company Cameron Balloons, was climbing near the intersection around 7 a.m. Officials say the balloon is then seen descending, crashing into the powerlines as it crossed perpendicular to the wires.

The report says an arc in a high-tension powerline caused the envelope to separate from the gondola, which fell to the ground. Some witnesses rushed to help. “We saw all [of] the people, so we rushed to get a fire extinguisher and try to turn off everything so we could get to them,” said Josh Perez, who witnessed the crash.

The envelope was found in a backyard a couple of miles away. The preliminary report says the wind speed at the time was 11 knots, or just under 13 miles an hour. It warns this info could change and may contain errors.

The crash killed pilot Nick Meleski, passengers Martin and Mary Martinez, and John and Susan Montoya.

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