Five people died in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Saturday morning when a hot air balloon crashed into a power line. The hot air balloon’s basket crashed down near a busy intersection in the northwestern portion of the city. One of the victims died at a local hospital. Among the victims were former Albuquerque Police Department officer 59-year-old Martin Martinez and his wife, 62-year-old Mary Martinez. The three other victims have not been identified yet. “If you have ballooned, there are always things that can happen, whether it’s winds, whether it’s equipment,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said at a press conference Saturday afternoon. The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the crash accident.
The power in the area was knocked ou affecting more than 13,000 customers for several hours. Mayor Tim Keller and APD were holding a news conference to discuss the deadly hot air balloon crash. Other accidents with hot air balloons occured in the past in Albuquerque, the deadliest in October 1982. The area is self-proclaimed ‘hot air balloon capital of the world’. The most atmospheric time of year to experience the thrill of a hot air balloon ride is during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, in October, the largest hot air balloon festival on the planet, which has been held every year since 1971 and draws crowds of up to 800,000 spectators. A hot balloon ride in Albuquerque cost between $159 – 205 per adult person.