Mexico: Hot Air Balloon Pilot Charged Over Deadly Crash

Image source, EP Remains of the hot air balloon could be seen suspended from a tree
- Advertisement -

The pilot of a hot air balloon which burst into flames and crashed near the pyramids of Teotihuacán in Mexico on 1 April has been charged with homicide.

Two of the passengers, a couple from Mexico, died in the crash and their teenage daughter was injured.

Hot air balloon rides above the archaeological site near the capital, Mexico City, are very popular.

But the Federation of Hot Air Balloons of Teotihuacán said the balloon which crashed was not registered with them.

Video of the incident showed the balloon’s basket on fire. Officials said its passengers had jumped out of it from a considerable height.

A 50-year-old man and his 39-year-old wife died, while their 13-year-old daughter suffered burns and a broken bone.

She has since been discharged from hospital.

Local media said the couple, José Edgar Nolasco and Viridiana Becerril, had booked the balloon flight to celebrate Ms Becerril’s 39th birthday.

Hot air balloons float above the Pyramid of the Moon on the day of the spring equinox in the pre-hispanic city of Teotihuacan, on the outskirts of Mexico City, Mexico, March 20, 2023.Image source, Reuters
Teotihuacán is one of the most well-known ancient Mesoamerican sites and balloon flights are very popular

The balloon’s pilot was also injured in the accident. He was tracked down to the hospital where he was being treated and is currently in pre-trial detention.

The prosecutor’s office has so far not provided any details as to what may have caused the balloon to catch fire.

Fatal accidents involving hot air balloons are relatively rare.

In 2021, five people died after a hot air balloon hit a power line in Albuquerque, but one of the deadliest crashes happened in 2013 when a balloon caught fire in Luxor, Egypt, killing 19 tourists.

- Advertisement -