Victims in Hot Air Balloon Accident Part of UR Women's Basketbal - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

Victims in Hot Air Balloon Accident Part of UR Women's Basketball Program

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DOSWELL, Va. (WRIC) - Sources confirm that two of the victims killed in a hot air balloon accident on May 9 in Doswell were part of the University of Richmond Women's Basketball program. Out of respect for their families, ABC 8News has chosen not to identify them, pending Virginia State Police next of kin notification.

The remains of two people have been recovered by Virginia State Police, after a hot air balloon struck a power line and caught fire Friday evening at Meadow Event Park during the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival. The search for the final occupant of the balloon continues.

Hundreds saw the balloon burst into flames, rip apart and plummet to the ground, including eyewitness James Whitt.

"Took me a minute to realize what it was and about that time it burst into flames," he recalled.

James was outside grilling food when he looked to the skies, saw a fireball and heard an explosion.

"You heard the vroom vroom whatever it was gas maybe."

That's when James says the balloon split apart from the basket and both went crashing down to the ground.

Investigators explained to ABC 8News that the balloon was one of 13 that went up in the air the evening of May 9. It was approaching the ground toward a pre-designated landing site when it hit the utility line and burst into flames.

Witnesses say two people inside the balloon's basket either jumped or fell out of it.

"We may actually never know, simply because all we have it different witness accounts from different locations and different levels," said VSP spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

According to other eyewitnesses, the balloon's pilot frantically tried to get it to the ground once the fire started, but the air was so warm it quickly took off.

One witness told us, "He made every effort to do everything he could in his power to save his passengers lives and his own."

Stay with ABC 8News on air and online for continual updates on this story.

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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