Four people were killed and one critically injured Sunday in a hot air balloon crash in Arizona. The tragedy took place at approximately 7:50 a.m. in the desert area east of Sunshine Boulevard and Hanna Road in Eloy, a small town with a population just over 15,000, and some 65 miles northwest of Phoenix known as “the skydiving capital of the world.” The cause of the crash was not immediately known.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there were five people on board at the time of the deadly crash. Police said they’re looking into the incident alongside the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the FAA to determine the cause of the deadly crash. Investigators were on scene examining the downed balloon, identified by the NTSB as a Cameron Balloons A160 aircraft. An NTSB spokesperson said that “the preliminary information is that the balloon impacted desert terrain following an unspecified problem with its envelope.” The aircraft will be brought to a secure facility for additional evaluation.
The Eloy Police Department confirmed by email that all of those on board the balloon were adults but declined to offer additional specifics pending the result of the investigation, sharing in a statement: “The Eloy Police Department regretfully confirms that there are four deceased individuals and one person in critical condition as a result of this incident. Further information will be provided as it becomes available. We thank the community for their support and understanding as we navigate this tragic event.”
Eloy is home to two parachute manufacturers: Firebird USA and Sun Path Products, as well as the world’s largest skydive drop zone, Skydive Arizona, which is located around five miles from the site of the balloon crash.
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