Arizona Desert Horror: 4 Dead, 1 Critical in Hot Air Balloon Crash, Authorities Report

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A tragic incident occurred over the Arizona desert as a hot air balloon crash-landed shortly after skydivers jumped, resulting in four fatalities and one person critically injured.

The incident in Arizona took place in Eloy, a city roughly 65 miles south of Phoenix, at 7:50 in the morning. 

The airplane, which was carrying eight skydivers, four passengers, and an operator of a balloon, totaled thirteen individuals. Shortly after each skydiver finished their scheduled jump, a disastrous occurrence occurred. 

Eloy Police Chief Byron Gwaltney revealed at a news conference that something catastrophic occurred with the balloon, causing it to crash to the ground. The crash site was situated in a desert area east of Sunshine Boulevard and Hanna Road.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is currently investigating the incident, stating that the exact cause is unknown, but preliminary information suggests an unspecified problem with its envelope. 

A witness on the ground described the balloon’s material as being “straight up and down” in the moments leading up to the impact. Of the passengers, one person died on the scene, while three others succumbed to injuries after being transported to a hospital. 

Collaborative Investigation in Arizona

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A tragic incident occurred over the Arizona desert as a hot air balloon crash-landed shortly after skydivers jumped, resulting in four fatalities and one person critically injured.

The critically injured individual was rushed to a trauma center in Phoenix. The victims’ names have not been released publicly until their families are notified, according to the Eloy Police Department.

Katie Bartrom, a 28-year-old registered nurse from Indiana, was identified by her family as one of the victims. Described as someone who loved skydiving and adventure, Bartrom had traveled to Arizona with friends to experience the thrill of jumping over the picturesque landscape.

The tight-knit community of Eloy, which is well-known for its substantial skydiving community presence, is in mourning as the Arizona investigation progresses. 

The NTSB investigators were on-site Sunday night, documenting the crash site and examining the A-160 passenger balloon manufactured by Cameron Balloons, the same model involved in the tragic incident. 

The Eloy Police Department is collaborating with the NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration on the ongoing investigation, urging support for the affected families during this difficult time.

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