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Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law
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5 People Killed in Hot Air Balloon Crash in Albuquerque


On June 26, 2021, five people—the pilot and four passengers—were killed in Albuquerque after a hot air balloon struck a power line in the early morning. The incident also cut off power to over 13,000 people in the area. 

On July 16, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a preliminary report on the fatal crash, which contained surveillance video from local businesses that shows the Cameron 0-120 hot air balloon was climbing near the Central and Unser intersection around 7 am, then descending into the power lines. The report says an arc from the power line separated the envelope from the gondola, which fell to the ground. 

The envelope was later discovered in a backyard a couple of miles away from where the gondola fell. The preliminary report also noted that the wind speed during that time was under 13 miles an hour, or 11 knots, although a more accurate final report could be released months later. 

The following are the three major areas the NTSB must deal with during the fact-gathering stage of the investigation: 

  • Human – Was the hot air balloon crash caused by human error? 

  • Mechanical – Was there a defect or mechanical issue that caused the crash? 

  • Environmental – Did any weather or wind conditions contribute to causing the accident? 

Hot-air ballooning is a popular recreational activity in New Mexico. Albuquerque hosts the International Balloon Fiesta during the summer months. 

If negligence is the cause of the accident, the surviving members of the victims’ families may seek financial compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the negligent party, which may also include the balloon company. If a mechanical error is the main cause, either the company or manufacturer of the defective or dangerous component may be held liable. 

The deadliest balloon crash in the United States occurred in 2016 in Texas, where 16 people were killed. The tragedy resulted in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) creating guidelines and policies to increase the safety of hot air balloon tourism. 

If you were involved in an accident caused by negligence in Albuquerque, contact Michael J. Doyle, Attorney at Law today at (505) 219-2176 for a free initial consultation. More than 20 years of trial-tested experience in personal injury law!