11 May 2014

Two dead in US hot air balloon crash

7:01 pm on 11 May 2014

At least two people have died in the American state of Virginia after a hot air balloon hit a power line and burst into flames in front of a horrified crowd.

The bodies were found after Friday's accident in Richmond, Virginia.

Two passengers jumped or fell from the gondola as the pilot attempted to control the balloon, police say.

The BBC reports it had been one of 13 that took off from Meadow Event Park and was approaching a nearby landing site when it drifted into the live cable.

One witness said she saw the balloon in flames and heard people screaming.

None of the victims has been identified, and around 100 people were scouring nearby woods and fields for the third victim and remnants of the balloon.

It drifted upwards rapidly after the crash, being propelled by the intense flames beneath, witnesses said.

The balloon had been scheduled to take part in Saturday's Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival, which was subsequently cancelled.