Balloon Fiesta officials said the balloon struck the line just before 7:30 p.m. CT. Poland 1 pilots Piotr Halas and Krzysztof Zapart, who are from Poland, were taken to Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Zapart, the lead pilot, sustained cuts and burns to his legs and arms. Halas is being treated for burns and broken bones to his legs and mid-section, according to Balloon Fiesta spokesman Tom Garrity.
“Both are experienced gas balloon pilots who have logged significant time in gas balloons. Our thoughts are with the gentlemen, their families, and friends for a full and complete recovery,” said Garrity in an update on YouTube.
Poland 1 was flying at an altitude of 12,000 feet to pass over the Dallas-Fort Worth airspace and started their descent a short time later. The balloon’s tracking device indicated that the aircraft’s motion had stopped at 7:25 p.m. CT, Garrity said. There was good weather and good visibility in Crandall at the time of the accident, he added.
Gordon Bennett Race Director Tomas Hora said Zapart may be released from the hospital on Tuesday. Poland 1’s chase crew was in Wichita Falls, Texas, at the time of the crash and is now at the hospital with the pilots.
“All of us in the command center are closely monitoring the situation in Texas with Poland 1. Our thoughts with our pilots Krzysztof and Piotr, their support crew, their family, and everybody involved,” Hora said in the update on YouTube.
A total of 17 teams launched from Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Saturday night. As of Tuesday morning, there were eight teams left in the competition. Click here for the live tracker.
This story will be updated as new information comes in.