Hot air balloon carrying at least 16 people crashes in Texas - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Hot air balloon carrying at least 16 people crashes in Texas

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A hot air balloon with 16 people aboard caught fire and crashed Saturday in central Texas and the local sheriff warned there don't appear to be any survivors.

The balloon crashed into a pasture around 8:40 a.m. local time near the town of Lockhart, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.

"The balloon was occupied and it does not appear at this time that there were any survivors of the crash," Caldwell County Sheriff Daniel Law said in a statement. "Investigators are determining the number and the identities of victims at this time."

A short time later, Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott weighed-in on what he called a "heartbreaking tragedy."

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, as well as the Lockhart community," Abbott said in a statement. "The investigation into the cause of this tragic accident will continue, and I ask all of Texas to join us in praying for those lost."

Lockhart is about 30 miles south of Austin and teams from both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were racing to the scene to investigate.

If the death toll is confirmed, this would be the deadliest hot air balloon tragedy since February 2013, when one of these crafts caught fire while floating over Luxor, Egypt, killing 19 of the 21 on board.

The sheriff did not identify the owner of the downed balloon.

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