Search for victims in Va. hot-air balloon accident

BAGDAD, Va. (WUSA9) -- A hot-air balloon accident in Virginia has authorities and rescue crews searching the terrain below for victims on Saturday morning, police said.

The fiery crash happened at around 8 p.m. on Friday evening, after three hot-air balloons took off from Meadow Event Park in Bagdad, Va., police said.

"The balloons headed north of the park to a designated landing zone in a field off Ruther Glen Road. Two of the balloons landed there safely. During its descent, the third balloon came in contact with a live utility line. The contact sparked an immediate fire," Virginia State Police said in a news release.

According to witnesses, the pilot tried to control the fire and the two passengers jumped out of the gondola while this was happening.

Then witnesses recall hearing an explosion and the fire continued to spread. The gondola and the balloon then separated, police said.

"Virginia State Police, Caroline County Sheriff's Office, Caroline County Fire and Rescue, and Henrico County Police spent the evening and overnight hours searching the immediate area for the balloon's three occupants and the wreckage of the balloon and basket. The FAA also responded to the scene Friday evening. The NTSB has been notified. Searches have been conducted by air and on the ground of the rural, heavily-wooded terrain," police said.


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