‘No Survivors’ In Texas Hot Air Balloon Disaster, 16 People Confirmed Dead After Balloon Catches Fire And Crashes In Field [Breaking]

Update 7:00 p.m. EST: CNN reports that investigators believe that the accident occurred when the hot air balloon struck power lines in the area causing the basket to ignite. The investigation is ongoing but authorities believe that the power lines did play a role in the downing of the hot air balloon. Meanwhile, officials have released the name of the hot air balloon company operating the balloon at the time of the crash as Heart of Texas Hot Air Balloon Rides. The company’s website indicates that the hot air balloon rides are offered in several locations across Texas with prices starting at $399 per passenger.

Update 1:54 p.m. EST: Texas officials have scheduled a press conference to discuss the hot air balloon crash. The conference is being streamed live on WRAL and can be viewed below.

Original Story:

Authorities are reporting that there are “no survivors” following a hot air balloon crash near Austin, Texas. The balloon was reportedly carrying 16 people when it caught fire and crashed into a field. All 16 people are presumed dead with investigators attempting to identify the victims.

Fox News reports that a hot air balloon ride took a deadly turn when the basket section of the balloon caught fire. The balloon then plummeted to the ground. Police responded to reports of a fire and possible vehicular accident and discovered that the fire was from the basket portion of the hot air balloon and noted that it does not appear that there were any survivors in the horrific accident.

According to the Daily Mail, the 16 occupants were just 26 minutes into an hour-long ride when the fire broke out. The balloon was flying over Lockhart, Texas, which is located 30 miles from Austin when it fell to the ground. The authorities are currently not releasing the names of the passengers or balloon pilot until their families have been notified. However, the sheriff’s office says they will be holding a press conference shortly to go over the details of the tragic accident.

Marcus Officer, a journalist for Fox 7, spoke from the scene and noted that there were large power lines above the area where the balloon was found. Marcus notes that while the police have not confirmed that the power lines played a role in the downing of the hot air balloon, he says that the areas underneath the power lines have been cordoned off by police, and investigators are in the area.

Additionally, Marcus notes that a man living nearby said that it was his boss and a crew member that were on the hot air balloon when it crashed. The alleged employee did not provide further details other than noting that the group when missing sometime after 7:00 a.m. and were found hours later deceased in the field. The man says that he lost contact with the group 26 minutes into their flight and began searching for them. A few hours later, he says he came upon their bodies.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott took to Twitter to express his condolences to family members of the deceased as the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board join in the investigation.

CNN reports that the Texas hot air balloon crash is unprecedented and is the deadliest air balloon accident in United States history. Prior to today’s crash, the highest number of deaths in a single hot air balloon occurred in Colorado in 1993 when six people perished.

[Image via Inquisitr]