Balloon crash turns deadly for two in Canada

by Dave Lefevre

Horrified cried and disbelief as a hot air balloon high above engulfed in flames.

Trapped inside the gondola are two people.

"It was something like you see in the movies. It was horrific. People jumping out and screaming out of there. Some of them, you know, I think had fire on their clothes, or something like that. It was awful," Perry Jundal, who witnessed the crash said.

The balloon caught fire around 7:30 Friday night as it was preparing to lift off with a dozen passengers and it's pilot.

One of the victims choked back tears as she described what happened.

"The balloon skyrocketed straight up, I put my arms, took her with me," Diana Rutledge, a victim involved in the crash said.

When the gondola crashed to the ground, the scene was pure chaos.

The gondola in an RV park, sparking several explosions.

Most of the passengers managed to escape before the balloon drifted high in the sky.

Police have now confirmed two people died in the fiery crash.

"Family members watched as the balloon lifted off with loved ones on board," Sgt. Roger Morrow, with Surrey RCMP said.

All of the passengers were taken to hospital, either by ground or air.

At least two of them suffered burns, while another two were injured in the fall.

The balloon was the largest in Western Canada. To put it in perspective, it was even bigger than Goodyear blimp. The reason it didn't catch fire was because it's made from a fire retardant nylon material.

The balloon is registered to Fantasy Balloon Charters of Langley, B.C.

He company has been in business for 24 years.

"It seems that there were three people on board, one jumped an unsafe distance, a few stories," John Kageorge, with Fantasy Balloon Charters said.

Arlene Mullin rescued her two grandchildren from inside a trailer.

"The balloon hit the bedroom. The flames went right underneath both sides. The heat was so intense," Mullin said.

The Transportation Safety Board is now investigating how this sunset tour turned deadly.