Virginia hot air balloon fire: One dead and two missing after basket crashes into power line

One witness described hearing screams for help after the balloon struck a power line and became engulfed in flames

Witnesses have reported hearing screams of “oh my God, I’m going to die” after a hot air balloon carrying three people caught fire during a ballooning festival and went crashing into the ground.

Rescue crews in Virginia confirmed they have recovered the body of one of the passengers on board the balloon. Two others are missing, feared dead.

Virginia Police are searching for wreckage after the balloon’s gondola apparently hit a power line and burst into flames during the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival at 7.30pm local time on Friday evening.

Authorities received eyewitness reports that two occupants either fell or jumped from the burning balloon after it struck the power line.

The ballooning festival had been due to start on Saturday and organisers were hosting a special "Friday Flights Happy Hour" for a limited audience from 6pm to 9pm when the apparent crash happened.

More than 20 hot air balloon teams from across the US were due to take part in the festival at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County.

Horrified witnesses posted pictures of the blaze on social media, where the balloon’s basket can be seen engulfed in flames.

"They were just screaming for anybody to help them," Carrie Hager-Bradley, who saw the balloon on fire on her way home, told WWBT TV. She said she heard one person shouting: “Help me, help me, sweet Jesus, help. I'm going to die. Oh my God, I'm going to die.”

Another resident, Debra Ferguson, told a local newspaper she looked up after other balloons had landed safely near her house and heard cries of “Oh my god” and then saw a surge of flames.

"As soon as we looked up, the thing blew up right there ... it was like a match, poof, and then it was gone," Ferguson told the Free Lance-Star, of Fredericksburg.

A police statement said: "No wreckage has been found yet, and there are no confirmed injuries or fatalities."

A ground search was under way involving state police, the Federal Aviation Administration, and local law enforcement and emergency workers, officials said.

"State police report that bad weather elsewhere in the Richmond vicinity has grounded air search for the time being," organisers wrote on the website.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - Commercial Vehicles - OTE £40,000

£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Leader - Plasma Processing

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders