Texas: Hot air balloon catches fire and kills 16 on board


A hot air balloon has caught fire and crashed in the US state of Texas, probably killing everyone on board, the local sheriff says.

Aviation officials said at least 16 people were on board the balloon which came down near Lockhart, south of the city of Austin.

Caldwell County sheriff Daniel Law said there did not appear to be survivors.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) statement said the balloon came down in a field at about 07:40 (12:40 GMT).

The sheriff’s statement said that when emergency crews arrived, the basket of the hot air balloon was on fire.

FAA investigators are on their way. The National Transportation Safety Board will eventually take over the inquiry.

Videos and stills posted by local media appeared to show that the balloon came down beneath tall power lines, but the cause is not yet known.

A Fox News reporter from Lockart who is at the scene says contact was lost with the balloon about half an hour into a scheduled one-hour flight.

Governor Greg Abbott asked in a statement that “all of Texas to join us in praying for those lost”.

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