Cause sought in fiery balloon crash

WEST VINCENT TWP., Pa. - September 8, 2008 The pilot was killed. The six surviving victims were burned when the basket went up in flames.

It happened around 7:00 Sunday night in the 1800 block of Kimberton Road in West Vincent Township. The balloon had to make an emergency landing and suddenly erupted into flames.

Neighbors say when the crash occurred a bunch of people from the neighborhood showed up quickly to help out. They found the victims burned and in shock. Three medivac helicopters transported victims to Crozer-Chester Hospital, Temple University Hospital, and Phoenixville Hospital.

NTSB officials and local fire crews were on the scene Monday afternoon trying to determine what exactly happened.

In the wake of accidents like this people in the ballooning industry are quick to point out that these kinds of accidents are both tragic and unusual.

Balloon crew member Davida Waters tells us, "Balloon travel, balloon flights, are very safe compared to car travel. It's very safe."

Waters is a flight crew member for a competing balloon company. She says you simply don't hear about these sort of incidents very often. And because there are relatively very few balloon companies in the Delaware Valley, she couldn't help but wonder if she knew the people involved in this crash.

Davida says, "I couldn't sleep all night until I found out what company it was and all. I mean, it still shakes me up, because I've never been around this."

The balloon company has been identified as Air Ventures Hot Air Balloons out of Chester Springs.

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