Hot Air Balloon Likely Hit Power Lines, Went 'Pop, Pop, Pop'

16 believed dead in what is likely deadliest such incident in American history
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2016 7:29 AM CDT

(Newser) – The hot air balloon that caught fire and crashed Saturday in Texas likely hit a power line in what appears to be the worst such disaster in American history, reports CNN. Officials aren't yet confirming the number of dead, reports the AP, though an FAA rep says that at least 16 people were aboard the balloon, and a Caldwell County Sheriff's Office statement says that there were apparently no survivors. The NTSB is on the scene, with a rep saying that "this will be a difficult site for us to work through."

A neighbor who lives a quarter-mile from the scene says she heard a "pop, pop, pop," on Saturday morning as she was letting her dog out. "I looked around and it was like a fireball going up," nearly to the power lines, which the AP reports stand four to five stories tall. There have been previous calls to better regulate such aircraft, though the NTSB and FAA have clashed over how to do so. (Read more hot air balloon stories.)

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