Passenger Ejected From Gondola Following Line Strike
UPDATE 1415 EDT: New Mexico state police have identified
the victim in Monday's hot air balloon accident in Albuquerque as
Rosemary Wooley Phillips, 60.
The California resident fell approximately 60 feet from the
tipped gondola of a hot air balloon participating in the city's
International Balloon Fiesta, according to KOB-4.
Other passengers in the balloon included pilot Tom Reyes, and
three other California women: Sheryl Diaz, 60; Susan Simpson, 57;
and Doris Currier, 52. The three were reported to be in
satisfactory condition at UNM Hospital; Reyes' condition has not
As reported earlier Monday, the balloon became stuck on a
fiber-optic line near an Albuquerque intersection. Reyes threw a
tether down for ground crews to use to attempt to free the balloon,
but the tether broke -- causing the balloon to lift off suddenly,
tipping the basket in the process.
Monday's accident was the first fatal crash during the annual
Fiesta since 1998, when two people were lost and five seriously
injured when their balloon came down on Kirtland Air Force Base,
south of the city.
UPDATE 1245 EDT: The Associated Press reports
one woman was killed Monday morning, when she was ejected from the
gondola of a hot air balloon after it struck a fiber-optic
line near a busy Albuquerque, NM intersection.
The woman was a passenger on the balloon. The male pilot
had thrown a tether line down to waiting ground crews in an attempt
to help free the balloon, but the line broke -- sending the balloon
hurtling back into the air.
Witnesses say the gondola tipped as the balloon rose, pitching
the woman out of the basket.
The pilot's condition, and the identities of those involved,
have not been released.
EDT: Local media report a female hot-air balloonist
was killed Monday morning, when her balloon came down
approximately seven miles south of Balloon Fiesta Park in
According to KOAT-7, crews on the scene report one fatality in
the accident, which may have occured when the balloon impacted
power lines near the intersection of Montgomery Blvd. and
Interstate 25 at approximately 0730 this morning.
Reports of a second passenger onboard the balloon at the time of
the accident remain unconfirmed.
KOB-4 reports the balloon initially came down near Montgomery
Blvd., and the fatality occurred when the balloon's gondola tipped
over. The balloon then became disentangled of the power lines, and
floated south/southeast before once again touching down, this time
at a constructon site at Comanche Blvd. and Vassar.
As ANN reported, the 36th
Annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta kicked off
Saturday. It is not known whether the balloon involved in this
morning's accident was participating in the Fiesta, or if it
belongs to one of several operators which offer balloon rides
off-site, and are not affiliated with AIBF.
The Montgomery/I-25 corridor, once a wide-open space and a
popular landing site for balloonists, has seen rapid commercial and
residential development over the past seven years.