One person was in critical condition after the balloon crashed into power lines near a pharmacy, the Albuquerque police said.,


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Four people died after a hot-air balloon crashed into a power line in Albuquerque, N.M., on Saturday morning, the authorities said.

One man was taken to a hospital and was in critical condition as of 1:30 p.m. Saturday, said Gilbert Gallegos, a spokesman for the Albuquerque police.

The victims included two men and two women, said Tom Ruiz, a spokesman for Albuquerque Fire Rescue. One of the men who died was the pilot of the balloon, Mr. Gallegos said, adding that the victims range in age from 40 to 60 years old.

The crash happened around 7 a.m. local time near a CVS pharmacy on Unser Boulevard and Central Avenue in an area dotted with stores and restaurants.

The gondola of the balloon, which was carrying the five people, crashed into power lines, caught fire and fell into the street. The balloon then detached and floated away, Mr. Gallegos said.

The gondola fell about 100 feet, Mr. Ruiz said.

“My understanding is it skirted the top of the line and crashed into the top of the intersection,” Mr. Gallegos said.


The hot-air balloon falling from the sky on Saturday.Credit…Adolphe Pierre-Louis/The Albuquerque Journal, via Associated Press

“A Cameron 0-120 hot-air balloon struck power lines about six miles west of the Albuquerque International Sunport Airport,” the Federal Aviation Agency said in a statement.

Joshua Perez was at a gym when he heard what sounded like gunshots, he told the television station KOB. He and another man rushed to the scene with a fire extinguisher.

“It was like a loud ‘boom boom,'” he said, “and that’s when I’d seen the balloon already going by itself, and I was like, ‘Where’s the basket?'”

Mr. Perez helped turn off the propane tank but it was too late to save the passengers, he said.

“You could just see them on the ground,” he said. “No one was moving.”

The remnants of the balloon landed on a home in Austin Council’s neighborhood in Albuquerque. Mr. Council, 24, woke up to a loud whooshing sound, he said.

“The second that I looked outside and saw the fabric I knew something was wrong,” Mr. Council said in an interview on Saturday morning. “It was a little scary because the basket and people weren’t with the balloon.”


The New Mexico State Police said the crash happened near a CVS pharmacy in an area dotted with stores and restaurants.Credit…Austin Council

Albuquerque has an active hot-air ballooning scene, and pilots are used to navigating the windy weather in the Southwest, Mr. Gallegos said.

“There’s a little bit of wind right now,” he said. “I don’t know if that played a part in the crash.”

The police did not know if the balloon was owned by a hot-air balloon company or an individual person.

Eduardo Medina contributed reporting.