ABQ balloon crashes through the years - Albuquerque Journal

ABQ balloon crashes through the years

Albuquerque, home to an active ballooning community and the largest hot air balloon event in the world, has had its share of tragedy over the past four decades – although Saturday’s crash that claimed five people appears to be the deadliest. What follows is a look at some of those fatal ballooning crashes, based on Journal archives:

Oct. 10, 2008: Steve Lachendro was killed and another man injured when Wings of Wind, a balloon shaped like an inverted pyramid, flew into power lines in Bernalillo.

Oct. 8, 2007: Rosemary Wooley Phillips was thrown from a gondola and fell more than 60 feet to her death after a balloon got caught on a utility line.

Oct. 5, 1998: Odella Marie Deutschman died and 12 others were injured as Wayfinder plowed in to two sets of power lines near the Sunport before crashing at Kirtland Air Force Base.

Oct. 9, 1993: Sunrunner pilot Allan Jones and passenger Karl Gordon died when a balloon hit power lines north of Alameda, severing the gondola from its envelope.

Oct. 6, 1990: Balloon pilot Stephen Falacy and passenger William Schobel jumped to their deaths from a burning gondola after Sunrise Special collided with a power line south of Bernalillo.

Oct. 3, 1982: In the worst disaster in Balloon Fiesta history, Dick Wirth, Christina Robinson, and Nick and Pamela Brainard were killed and five others were injured when propane tanks on El Globo Grande exploded.

Oct. 10, 1979: Kathy Wiley and pilot Richard Temple were killed when their balloon collapsed in a wind shear and caught fire as they attempted to fly over Sandia Crest.


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