LOCKHART, Texas, Sixteen passengers aboard a hot air balloon died in Texas Saturday morning after the balloon’s basket caught fire.
The Texas Department of Public Safety said all the passengers died when the balloon crashed into a field, but could not confirm that more than a dozen people were killed in the crash, KXAN reported.
ABC News reported Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board investigators are reporting to the crash scene.
“The FAA and NTSB do not release the names of pilots or passengers. Names will be released by local officials after relatives have been notified,” Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Lynn Lunsford said in a statement.
Gov. Greg Abbott and his wife expressed his “deepest condolences for all those who have been affected by today’s heartbreaking tragedy.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, as well as the Lockhart community. The investigation into the cause of this tragic accident will continue, and I ask all of Texas to join us in praying for those lost,” he said.
According to Click2Houston, the hot air balloon crashed into a pasture near Lockhart, Texas at 7:40 a.m.
Emergency responders reported the fire likely occurred in the basket portion of the balloon, the Lockhart Post-Register reported.
According to the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, 911 callers initially reported a vehicle crash on Jolly Road near Cistern Road, near the town of Maxwell, before arriving on the scene to find the balloon’s basket.
“The balloon was occupied and it does not appear at this time that there were any survivors of the crash,” Caldwell County Sheriff Daniel Law said in a statement. “Investigators are determining the number and the identities of victims at this time.”