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Graphic Video Shows Hot Air Balloon Crash That Killed Three People

The balloon crashed into power lines last year at the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival near Ruther Glen, Virginia. A preliminary report on the crash paints a grim scene as it unfolded.

Posted on January 16, 2015, at 8:53 p.m. ET

Newly released video shows a hot air balloon crashing into power lines and bursting into flames.

View this video on YouTube

The May 9, 2014, crash killed the balloon pilot, 65-year-old Daniel Kirk, as well as two passengers: Ginny Doyle, 44, and Natalie Lewis, 24.

In the video, the balloon can be seen drifting over a group of trees until it makes contact with the power lines. Sparks fly, and the base of the ballon bursts into flames.

The camera then pans away, but a woman can be heard shouting.

"Move, move, move it's gonna come this way," the woman says in the video. "Oh God, they're on fire. The people are."

The video was released this week as part of a new report on the crash from the National Transportation Safety Board.

The report paints a grisly picture of the crash: As the balloon drifted toward the power lines, Kirk engaged the burner, "which resulted in a spark." The balloon then caught fire, but also climbed back into the air.


Shortly after the crash, witnesses told reporters they heard the people in the balloon basket screaming.

"They were just screaming for anybody to help them," Carrie Hager-Bradley said. "'Help me, help me, sweet Jesus, help. I'm going to die. Oh my God, I'm going to die.'"

When the balloon finally crashed, it created a five-mile long debris field, according to the NTSB report.

An autopsy found that Kirk died from "blunt force trauma." Toxicologists found two drugs in his system: Allegra, an antihistamine, and Diovan, a drug used against high blood pressure and other things. However, CBS 6 reported that there is no evidence the drugs contributed to the crash.

The report also mentions potentially higher-than-ideal wind speeds. A final report on the crash is due in the coming months.