Fatal Hot Air Balloon Crash Just South of Austin

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LOCKHART, TX -- A hot air balloon carrying 16 people crashed in central Texas after catching fire in the air Saturday morning, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

There were no survivors in the crash near Lockhart, about 30 miles south of Austin, the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office said.

Here's the latest information on the crash:

  • A source with the Texas Department of Public Safety told CNN's Polo Sandoval that investigators believe the hot air balloon struck power lines and caught fire. This is the preliminary working theory, the source said.
  • Law enforcement officers responded to a 911 call at 7:44 a.m. about a possible auto accident in the Maxwell area, according to a statement on the Caldwell County Office of Emergency Management's Facebook page. Officers found the balloon basket on fire on the ground, the statement said.
  • 16 fatalities would be an unprecedented death toll for a hot air balloon crash in the United States. The highest number of deaths in a single hot air balloon crash in the country before Saturday was six, in a 1993 accident in Colorado, according to the NTSB.

Gov. Greg Abbott expressed his condolences to the victims' families with this statement:

"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."

The FAA and the NTSB are investigating the Texas crash.