Two people ejected from hot air balloon that later caught fire during NM festival

NirutiStock/iStock(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) — Two people were thrown from a hot air balloon after a faulty landing that also caused a fire and power outage, officials said.

The hot air balloon involved in Monday’s accident at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta experienced such a hard landing that the pilot and passenger were ejected, Tom Garrity, a spokesman for the event, said in a statement.

The balloon then flew off and rammed into a power line before its gondola caught fire, he said. The balloon eventually landed and the fire was put out.

The two people who were injured were taken to a local hospital but have since been treated and released, according to Garrity.

The incident happened in Rio Rancho, a nearby suburb of Albuquerque.

It was not immediately clear what caused the balloon’s hard landing and Lynn directed all questions to the Federal Aviation Administration. A spokesperson for the FAA said the agency was investigating.

The balloon’s brush with a power line caused an outage for about an hour in the suburb, Meaghan Cavanaugh, spokesperson for New Mexico’s Public Service Company, told ABC News.

A separate incident, in which another balloon grazed a power line, happened earlier that morning but did not result in any outages, Cavanaugh said. She did not know exactly what set off the series of accidents.

“For the most part, [accidents like the one Monday] are not a regular occurrence,” Cavaugh said. She added, “We always hope this type of stuff doesn’t happen but we know how important it is to be ready in the event it does happen.”

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta runs from Oct. 5 to Oct. 13 and brings more than 500 balloons to New Mexico.

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