3 People Seriously Injured After Hot Air Balloon Strikes Power Lines, Catches Fire and Crashes in Indiana

Three people have been left badly injured after a hot air balloon crashed in Indiana

Published Time: 04.06.2024 - 16:31:05 Modified Time: 04.06.2024 - 16:31:05

Three people have been left badly injured after a hot air balloon crashed in Indiana. 

The hot air balloon had been traveling with a pilot and two passengers in Lowell, Indiana, on Sunday, June 2, when it struck power lines and crashed in a field east of the town before 7:00 p.m., the Lowell Fire Department said in a news release.

According to officials, the aircraft was discovered with “evidence on the passenger basket that electrical current passed from the power lines to the basket,” causing “severe” burn injuries to the passengers.

“The hot air balloon was found in the 19000 block of Mississippi street … in a field. The balloon envelope and basket were still attached to each other and three people were found inside the basket,” the fire department said. 

Due to the severe extent of the burn injuries, officials said, two medical helicopters were called to the scene — transporting one passenger to the University of Chicago and another to Loyola Hospital. The pilot was transported to Franciscan Hospital in Crown Point via ground ambulance.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed in a statement to PEOPLE that the Lindstrom balloon crashed "after striking power lines" at 6:50 p.m. on the evening of the incident. According to ABC News, FAA records show that the aircraft -

is registered to Region Ballooning, based in Crown Point, Indiana. 

Footage captured by witness Debbie Wajovoda showed the hot air balloon colliding with power lines ahead of the crash as it flew above the Interstate 65 highway.

“It was starting to deflate a little bit and that’s when it was coming down,” Wajvoda told ABC News. “And then it hit the power lines and pitched and then blew back up and then just kept rising and floating away.”

Never miss a story — sign up forPEOPLE's free daily newsletterto stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer​​, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.Lowell Volunteer Fire Department Chief, Chris Gambin, told ABC News that there was “electrical arching and a high degree of energy” that transmitted from the power lines through to the balloon in the collision.

He added that there was concern about the balloon “getting on the interstate” before the crash, however, the pilot managed to prevent that from happening. 

“The pilot was able to extinguish an onboard fire on the basket while maintaining control of the balloon,” he explained. 

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are currently investigating the incident.

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