Officials in Europe say a hot air balloon carrying 32 people, including children, has crashed outside Slovenia’s capital, killing four people and injuring 28 others.
According to the Herald Sun, the tragic accident happened around 8am local time near the town of Ig just south of the country’s capital.
“First findings indicate the accident happened due to sudden strong winds close to the ground” and this “caused problems in maneuvering the balloon,” said Roman Rovancek, the head of the accident investigation office at the infrastructure ministry.
Reuters reports that the balloon was ablaze when firemen arrived at the scene of the crash, and the four bodies of those killed were charred beyond recognition.
Police did not specify whether the balloon caught fire while still in the air or after it crashed.
Among the injured were a British woman and three Italians, according to the Ljubljana Clinical Centre, where many of the injured were brought. The remaining survivors — which included six children, a pilot, and a co-pilot — were Slovenian nationals, the medical center added.
While the cause of the crash is still under investigation, the Daily Mail is reporting that the pilot of a hot air balloon did not have a license.
“The pilot’s license was confiscated on June 7 because he needed to retake some health exams,” the paper quoted Ziga Kotnik, head of the civil aviation authority, as saying.
Following the tragic accident, Slovenia’s Defense and Interior ministers Ales Hojs and Vinko Gorenak both visited the crash site while Prime Minister Janez Jansa and President Danilo Turk expressed their condolences.
Mr Turk vowed:
“All necessary services have been engaged and they will do whatever they can to prevent an increase of the number of victims.”
More on the Slovenia hot air balloon crash in the video below: