16 confirmed dead as hot air balloon crashes in Texas

HOUSTON — US Texas Department of Public Safety has confirmed that 16 people were killed on Saturday morning after a hot air balloon caught on fire and crashed near Lockhart, a city in the central part of the US state of Texas.

The accident occurred shortly after 7:40 a.m. local time on Saturday near Lockhart, a city about 48 km south of the Lone Star state capital of Austin, when the hot air balloon with at least 16 people on board crashed into a pasture, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement on Saturday.

Local police also confirmed the accident, saying in a statement that “The balloon was occupied and it does not appear at this time that there were any survivors of the crash,” according to local TV station ABC13.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are rushing to the scene to investigate the cause of the accident.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott offered his condolences to those killed in the crash, one of the deadliest balloon accidents on record.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, as well as the Lockhart community,” he said in a statement. PNA/ Xinhua/ northboundasia.com