Three hot air balloons crashed amid high winds in Teton County, Wyoming during a routine tour on Monday morning, according to local news reports.
The hot air balloons, owned by the Wyoming Balloon Company, had approximately 40 passengers, bounced across the ground in the crash landings, with one running into a fence, according to the Jackson Hole News & Guide.
Authorities are on scene near Teton Village after three hot air balloons wrecked. https://t.co/tt6JL2lXKC
— JH News&Guide (@JacksonHoleNews) August 3, 2020
Passenger Clint Phillips, who was with his wife, Jade, and three children, detailed the crash landing to Jackson Hole News & Guide. “We were descending so fast. It was lifting us up and slamming us back down again. We were desperately trying not to fall out,” Phillips said.
“It was a pretty traumatic experience,” Phillips said. “My girls are pretty scratched up, and my son might have a concussion, and we think my wife’s ribs are broken.”
The three hot air balloons reportedly crashed along a strip of land west of Highway 390 near Teton Village in Teton County, Wyoming. The Teton County’s Sheriff’s Deputies, Wyoming Highway Patrol, Grand Teton National Park, and Jackson Hole Fire EMS all responded to reports of the crash, according to an emailed press release from the Teton County Sheriff’s office.
Between 16 and 20 individuals were treated for injuries from the crash, according to Teton County Sheriff Matt Carr, local station KIDK reported.
Federal authorities, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), are currently investigating the incident to determine the cause of the crash.
According to Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman for the FAA, the crash happened due to “unknown circumstances” and the NTSB will lead the investigation into the crash landing.
In an interview with The New York Times, president of the Wyoming Balloon Company Andrew Breffeilh said he was “considering a stand-down for some period of time in order to learn from what happened,” and to work with federal authorities investigating the incident.
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