Hot air balloon crash kills two

On Saturday, a Mexican couple, Jose Nolasco (50) and Viridiana Becerril (38), tragically lost their lives when their hot air balloon burst into flames and fell to the ground in Mexico City. Their daughter, Regina Itzani, suffered a broken arm and second-degree burns after jumping from the gondola. Despite her injuries, she is expected to recover.

The family had been taking a joyride over the pre-Hispanic ruins of Teotihuacan, a popular tourist area, and the incident was captured on video and posted to social media. It remains undetermined whether a pilot was on board the balloon, which was still tethered to the ground. The footage showed the basket engulfed in flames, before the balloon wilted and the gondola fell to the ground with passengers either falling or jumping out.

Mexican authorities are continuing to investigate the cause of the fire, although initial local reports suggested that it could be linked to the fuel storage system. Before their ill-fated journey, the family had taken a selfie, which was reported to be a birthday present organized by Regina and her father for Viridiana. Regina’s grandmother, Reyna Gloria Sarmiento, stated that her granddaughter had managed to hug her parents before leaping from the balloon, and although stable, is unaware of her parents’ passing.

Although hot air balloons around the world reach 3,000 annually, fatalities from them remain rare. Data from 2000 to 2016 showed that there have been only 21 recorded deaths in the United States.