RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A balloon flying in Albuquerque's International Balloon Fiesta hit a power line as it tried to land Wednesday, sending two men to the hospital with burns and injuries from a 40-foot fall, officials said.
Police in Rio Rancho, a northwest Albuquerque suburb, said the balloon got tangled in the line at about 8:30 a.m. When the passenger reached out to free the balloon, he was shocked, festival spokesman Tom Garrity said.
The balloon was freed, but the gondola crashed to the ground.
Rio Rancho police identified the pilot as Mark Kilgore, 59, of Albuquerque, and the passenger as Daniel Lovato, his 66-year-old crew chief.
KOB-TV reported that Lovato suffered serious burns on his face, chest and arms and underwent surgery at the University of New Mexico Hospital while Kilgore was treated for burns to the side of his face.
Although photos from the scene showed flames, Garrity said it was unclear if the gondola caught fire.
"We know there was arcing of electricity," he said. "We are still trying to figure out the specifics."
Rio Rancho police spokeswoman Janet Garcia said pictures showed some burns along the top of the gondola, but it did not appear that the gondola went up in flames.