Federal officials investigating fatal hot air balloon crash that killed 16

FAA says hot air balloon hit high-voltage power line

LOCKHART, Texas – A hot air balloon ride turned deadly in Caldwell County Saturday when the balloon hit a high-voltage power line, caught fire and then crashed, killing 16 people, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Authorities are investigating the crash that happened in the 700 block of Jolly Road. 

One person told KSAT 12 News she heard it happening.

“I didn't see the balloon, but I heard some popping noises. And then when I looked back over this way, I saw the fire ball go up,” Margaret Wylie said."I was praying that whoever was there got away from the thing in time."

The victims' names have still not been released by authorities. 

"I've just seen them land, and then I've seen them get up and go. You just look at them from far away and wonder, 'Wow, they're having such a great time,'" said Alejandro Yanez, a man who lives near the crash site.

The crash happened about 7:40 a.m. Saturday in a pasture in Maxwell, Texas. The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office said that’s when it first received a call. It was thought to be a car fire. Once deputies arrived at the scene, however, it was apparent that they had found the basket portion of a hot air balloon.

The Sheriff’s Office has now turned over the investigation to the National Transportation Safety Board.

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