Four people were killed, and another is in critical condition, after a hot air balloon used for skydiving crashed in the Arizona desert, United States (US).
According to local police, 13 people went up in the hot air balloon on January 14, 2024, where eight members of the group skydived from the gondola.
The pilot and four others remained behind and at around 7:50 am local time “something catastrophic happened” and the hot air balloon crashed to the ground.
“What we know at this point is the skydivers were able to exit the balloon without incident and completed their planned skydiving event, and then shortly thereafter something catastrophic happened with the balloon causing it to crash to the ground,” Eloy Police Chief Byron Gwaltney said during a press conference.
The Eloy Police Department confirmed in a statement that four of those onboard the hot air balloon had died, and another was airlifted to a hospital in Phoenix.
It is understood that one person died at the scene of the crash and the three other victims passed away at Casa Grande Medical Center.
Representatives from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) were at the scene and took over the investigation from Eloy police.
“The Eloy Police Department extends its deepest condolences to the families and friends of those involved in this heartbreaking incident,” police said.