NATIONAL NEWS

Police identify all 5 people killed in hot air balloon crash in New Mexico

Jun 27, 2021, 3:23 PM | Updated: Aug 19, 2023, 6:08 pm

Austin Council took this photo of the envelop of a hot air balloon that is covering a neighbor's ho...

Austin Council took this photo of the envelop of a hot air balloon that is covering a neighbor's house in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Courtesy: Austin Council)

(Courtesy: Austin Council)

(CNN) — All five victims in Saturday’s fatal hot-air balloon wreck have been identified, authorities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, said.

New Mexico State Police in a Sunday news release identified the pilot as Nicholas Meleski, 62, and passenger Susan Montoya, 65. John Montoya, 61, was taken to a hospital and died of his injuries, the release said.

All the victims were from Albuquerque, police said. The city is a popular site for ballooning and hosts the International Balloon Festival each fall.

CNN previously reported that retired Albuquerque police officer Martin Martinez, 62, and his wife, Mary Martinez, 59, had died. Mayor Tim Keller named them in a news conference Saturday.

The accident happened about 7:30 a.m. local time Saturday, police said.

NMSP said that the initial investigation found that the balloon struck an overhead power line as it descended toward the ground. The basket became engulfed in flames.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the incident, as CNN previously reported.

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Police identify all 5 people killed in hot air balloon crash in New Mexico