“The balloon hit the top wires — the gondola of the balloon skirted along the top wire, caught on fire and crashed into the intersection,” APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos told CNN. “Unfortunately when police and fire officials arrived they found four deceased on site.”
Police are not publicly naming the victims at this time, but Gallegos said the deceased are between 40 and 60 years old, adding that police believe the hot-air balloon pilot to be among the dead.
Power has been fully restored to affected customers in the area of the incident, Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) spokesperson Shannon Jackson told CNN.
“Everyone at PNM is deeply saddened by this tragic loss,” Jackson said. “We are thinking about the family and friends affected by today’s events. We will continue to do everything we can to support first responders in this evolving situation.”
PNM was not able to re-energize the transmission line affected by the crash or restore power until the investigation was complete, Jackson said.
Albuquerque Fire and the New Mexico State Police are on the scene, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will investigate what caused the hot-air balloon to crash, according to police.
CNN’s Ganesh Setty, Andy Rose, Chuck Johnston and Kate Trafecante contributed to this report.