Pilot arrested after jumping out of hot air balloon when it caught fire

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By James Kay

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A hot air balloon pilot has been arrested after he fled the aircraft when it caught fire leaving two parents to lose their lives while their child miraculously survived a fall from 131 feet.

Victor Guzmán was piloting the balloon in Mexico with 50-year-old José Nolasco, 39-year-old Viridiana Becerril, and their 13-year-old daughter, Regina Itzani, on board.

As per the Daily Mail, the balloon departed at around 8:00 AM local time as a surprise for Becerril, and viewers from the ground saw it catch alight as it encountered an issue with the gas system, causing the cabin to set alight.

The Federal Aviation Agency is currently investigating the company flying the balloon, Autocinema Retroviso, to see if they are licensed and hold the correct insurance to operate the service.

Footage of the incident shows the balloon’s basket covered in flames as those on the ground begin to panic, before the balloon wilts and those onboard can be seen falling from the sky.

The fiery crash took place at the pre-Hispanic pyramid site in Teotihuacán, State of Mexico, on Saturday (March 1) and Guzmán has since been arrested.

The pilot was detained after he allegedly leaped from the balloon as it was around 16 feet from the ground and raced away from the scene, leaving the passengers to die.

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A hot hair balloon over Teotihuacán (stock image). Credit: Pedro Gutierrez / Alamy

The couple's 13-year-old daughter remains in the hospital with a broken arm and second-degree burns. She reportedly hugged her parents before leaping from the balloon as it fell from 131 feet.

As per the Mail, The Teotihuacán Hot Air Balloon Federation stated that eight companies offer services in the area, but Autocinema Retroviso is not one of them.

They said in a statement: "It is imperative that these same authorities act effectively in order to cancel the operations of companies that, unfortunately, operate outside the legal framework and sometimes in hiding, affecting the safety of the operations of all of us who operate in the immediate vicinity of the archaeological site of Teotihuacán."

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Hot air balloons are a popular tourist attraction for people to see the Prehispanic Teotihuacan Pyramids. Credit: Allegra DAgostini / Alamy

As per the New York Post, while there are around 3,000 hot air balloon accidents a year, fatalities are extremely rare.

The National Transportation Safety Board estimates that there have only been 16 hot air balloon-related fatalities in the US between 2002 and 2016.

Featured image credit: Scott Kemper / Alamy

Pilot arrested after jumping out of hot air balloon when it caught fire

vt-author-image

By James Kay

Article saved!Article saved!

A hot air balloon pilot has been arrested after he fled the aircraft when it caught fire leaving two parents to lose their lives while their child miraculously survived a fall from 131 feet.

Victor Guzmán was piloting the balloon in Mexico with 50-year-old José Nolasco, 39-year-old Viridiana Becerril, and their 13-year-old daughter, Regina Itzani, on board.

As per the Daily Mail, the balloon departed at around 8:00 AM local time as a surprise for Becerril, and viewers from the ground saw it catch alight as it encountered an issue with the gas system, causing the cabin to set alight.

The Federal Aviation Agency is currently investigating the company flying the balloon, Autocinema Retroviso, to see if they are licensed and hold the correct insurance to operate the service.

Footage of the incident shows the balloon’s basket covered in flames as those on the ground begin to panic, before the balloon wilts and those onboard can be seen falling from the sky.

The fiery crash took place at the pre-Hispanic pyramid site in Teotihuacán, State of Mexico, on Saturday (March 1) and Guzmán has since been arrested.

The pilot was detained after he allegedly leaped from the balloon as it was around 16 feet from the ground and raced away from the scene, leaving the passengers to die.

wp-image-1263204547 size-full
A hot hair balloon over Teotihuacán (stock image). Credit: Pedro Gutierrez / Alamy

The couple's 13-year-old daughter remains in the hospital with a broken arm and second-degree burns. She reportedly hugged her parents before leaping from the balloon as it fell from 131 feet.

As per the Mail, The Teotihuacán Hot Air Balloon Federation stated that eight companies offer services in the area, but Autocinema Retroviso is not one of them.

They said in a statement: "It is imperative that these same authorities act effectively in order to cancel the operations of companies that, unfortunately, operate outside the legal framework and sometimes in hiding, affecting the safety of the operations of all of us who operate in the immediate vicinity of the archaeological site of Teotihuacán."

size-full wp-image-1263204545
Hot air balloons are a popular tourist attraction for people to see the Prehispanic Teotihuacan Pyramids. Credit: Allegra DAgostini / Alamy

As per the New York Post, while there are around 3,000 hot air balloon accidents a year, fatalities are extremely rare.

The National Transportation Safety Board estimates that there have only been 16 hot air balloon-related fatalities in the US between 2002 and 2016.

Featured image credit: Scott Kemper / Alamy