UPDATE, 2:10 p.m.: A second body has been recovered Saturday in the fiery crash of a hot air balloon in Virginia, according to the Associated Press.
More than 100 continued to search for a third victim, Virginia State Police said. None of the victims has been identified, and the balloon and basket holding the pilot also have yet to be located, the AP added.
Original story below
One body was found Saturday after a hot air balloon crash in Virginia on Friday evening, officials said.
There were three occupants in the balloon, Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corrine Geller said, CNN reported.
The balloon hit power lines, burst into flames, and then crashed into an area 25 miles north of Richmond
Carrie Hager-Bradley told WWBT-TV in Richmond she could hear the balloon occupants.
“They were just screaming for anybody to help them. ‘Help me, help me, sweet Jesus, help, I’m going to die! Oh my God, I’m going to die!’” she told the station.
Hager-Bradley’s daughter told her she saw one person falling from the balloon basket — then Hager-Bradley also saw an individual falling.
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Balloon and gondola detached after the flames burst out, witnesses told police, so rescuers are fanning out over two areas in hopes of finding them.
State troopers want to send up aircraft to scour the rural area from above, but stormy weather on the horizons saw them grounded early Saturday, Geller said.
Inclement weather was not a factor during the balloon’s flight, Geller said.
The balloon was taking part in the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival and in the air with two other balloons. The first two balloons landed safely in a designated zone, Geller said, but the third hit an electric wire and caught fire.
Event organizers said 20 balloon flying teams were expected to participate in the festival, but after the accident all events were cancelled.
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The pilot fought the blaze and opened the top of the balloon to let hot air out to prevent it from climbing farther, Geller said.
Two explosions rang out from the balloon, witnesses told police, then gondola and the balloon separated, and the inflatable soared skyward.
David Griffith looked on in disbelief from below. “There was no way these people were coming out of that,” he told WWBT.
He, too, said he saw two people plunge from the basket.
This story has been updated with new video.