San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas


1:20 p.m. SATURDAY, JULY 30 | A National Transportation Safety Board spokesperson said a hot air balloon that caught fire and crashed today near Maxwell resulted in “significant loss of life.” The official, Erik Grosof, did not confirm reports from state and local authorities that 16 people died.

Addressing reporters near the crash scene between San Marcos and Lockhart, Grosof said the flight originated at Heart of Texas Balloon Rides, based at New Braunfels Regional Airport. Information circulated earlier in the day among emergency response officials said the flight originated at the San Marcos Regional Airport.

NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the cause. The crash site appears to be located in a field beneath a high-tension electricity transmission line.


10:45 a.m. SATURDAY, JULY 30 | LOCKHART — Authorities say at least 16 people likely died when a hot air balloon caught fire and crashed near Maxwell at about 7:40 a.m. Saturday.

The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement this morning that investigators are working to identify the victims.

A Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson said earlier today that at least 16 people were aboard the balloon when it crashed. FAA and National Transportation Safety Board investigators are en route to the crash site, the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for Gov. Greg Abbott released a brief statement just before noon:

“Cecilia and I extend our deepest condolences for all those who have been affected by today’s heartbreaking tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, as well as the Lockhart community. The investigation into the cause of this tragic accident will continue, and I ask all of Texas to join us in praying for those lost.”

CORRECTION 1:24 p.m. JULY 30: This story was posted at one point with a YouTube video purporting to show the balloon crash. The footage was not of the accident today.

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