Albuquerque tragedy: five people died in a hot air balloon accident.


The balloon in which the accident victims were flying collided with electrical cables and ended up crashing on the ground.

In New Mexico, five people died after a hot air balloon in which they were flying hit power lines in the largest city in that US state. The gondola crashed into the ground, police said Saturday.

The accident occurred around 7 a.m. in western Albuquerque, police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said. The identities of the victims have not been released. Still, authorities said three men, including the pilot and two women, were killed.

Four of them were declared dead at the scene. The fifth person died after being transferred to the hospital in serious condition, Gallegos added.

The multicolored balloon brushed the upper part of the electrical cables, causing at least one left hanging and leaving more than 13,000 homes without electricity, the police spokesman detailed.

The gondola fell about 100 feet (30 meters). It hit the median of a busy street, catching fire, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In a video posted on the internet, passersby desperately ask for a fire extinguisher to put out the flames.

Gallegos said the balloon rolled away and eventually landed on the roof of the house. The FAA did not have details of the balloon record at the time but identified it as 0-120 Cameroon.

Authorities have not yet determined the cause of the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board dispatched two investigators to the scene Saturday, who will examine the pilot, the hot air balloon itself, and operating conditions, spokesman Peter Knudson said. The preliminary report usually takes a couple of weeks.

Gallegos said hot air balloons could be difficult to maneuver, especially when the wind is strong.

"Our aeronauts tend to be navigational experts, but sometimes those kinds of tragic accidents happen," he said.

Albuquerque is a mecca for hot air festivals. The city holds a nine-day event in October that attracts thousands of spectators and riders worldwide. It is one of the most photographed events on the planet.

On the other hand, Mexican rescuers arrived at the collapse zone in Surfside, Miami, to help rescue and recover the bodies trapped under the rubble of a 12-story residential building that collapsed at dawn last Thursday. Authorities continue to make efforts to have a count of the total number of people who were in the building that collapsed; however, there is still no clear figure. What is known is that the count of dead people already rises to 9 while there are another 159 who have not been able to be located by their relatives.

Miami Mayor Charles Burket confirmed the arrival of the Mexican rescuers. However, he did not clarify the number of people that make up the group. This is an interview with the American news television station ABC.

The Secretary of Foreign Relations, Marcelo Ebrard, expressed yesterday through his Twitter account that " Mexico offers its solidarity and support  in everything necessary for the work of the rescue corps." In addition, he sent, "Our sincere condolences to all those affected by the landslide in Surfside, Florida."

According to experts in the area, although four days have passed since the collapse,  there are still chances of finding people alive under the rubble. However, rescue efforts have been slow, so the president of the United States, Joe Biden, declared an emergency in Florida to allocate more resources from the federal government to complement the local efforts.

"The action of the president authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Agency for Emergency Management (FEMA), to coordinate all relief efforts in a disaster" were the words with which the White House announced the decision taken from the office of the American president.

The Mexican Ministry of Foreign Relations (SRE) clarified that there is no presence of nationals among the victims of the collapse. However, there are  18 Latin American citizens from Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay. In addition, there are also victims of the Jewish community in Florida, which is why the presence of 10 experts sent from Israel to support the rescue efforts also stands out.