Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Third body from balloon fire found

Laura Jordan wears a red ribbon with her hat decorated with initials of Natalie Lewis and Ginny Doyle before the University of Richmond’s graduation ceremony on Sunday.

Associated Press

Laura Jordan wears a red ribbon with her hat decorated with initials of Natalie Lewis and Ginny Doyle before the University of Richmond’s graduation ceremony on Sunday.

The third and final victim of a fatal hot-air balloon crash in a rural, heavily wooded area of Virginia has been found, officials announced.

The remains of the balloon's last missing passenger were discovered near the Caroline Pines subdivision in Caroline County, Va., on Sunday morning, bringing a rescue effort that involved more than 100 searchers to a somber end.

The crash victims were: Natalie Lewis, the 24-year-old director of operations for the University of Richmond women's basketball team; Ginny Doyle, 44, the team's associate head coach; and 65-year-old retired Army Lt. Col. Daniel Kirk, who was piloting the balloon.

The three were riding one of the 13 balloons that took off from a balloon festival Friday evening. The trouble began when their balloon hit a live utility line near its landing spot, officials said.

The balloon immediately caught fire, and the two passengers fell or jumped out of the balloon's basket while Kirk tried to control the situation until the basket separated from the balloon, officials said, citing witness accounts.

"Now that the male pilot and two female passengers have all been located, this concludes the large-scale search efforts of the operation," the Virginia State Police said in a statement. "Virginia State Police and National Transportation Safety Board investigators are now concentrating on locating the balloon wreckage and evidence collection."

Kirk, the pilot, loved flying and traveling, his father, Donald, said by telephone Saturday. The younger Kirk started flying balloons commercially about a decade ago in Delaware, nicknaming his balloon "Starship."

Doyle had worked with the Richmond women's basketball team for 16 years after graduating as a standout player for the squad in 1992, the university said.

Lewis graduated in 2011 from Richmond, where she was a championship swimmer and four-year varsity letter winner before getting a job with the university, school officials said.

Before the Virginia accident, balloon crashes had killed 114 people in 67 incidents in the United States since 1964, according to an NTSB database.

Third body from balloon fire found 05/11/14 [Last modified: Sunday, May 11, 2014 10:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. ESPN cites safety in removing Robert Lee from UVA broadcast due to name (w/video)

    College

    ESPN has removed an announcer from its broadcast of the University of Virginia's first football game next month because he has the same name as a Confederate general memorialized in statues that are being taken down across the country.

    Louisville lines up for a play against Virginia during an NCAA college football game in Charlottesville, Va., in 2016 ESPN broadcaster Robert Lee will not work Virginia's season opener because of recent violence in Charlottesville sparked by the decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. A spokeswoman for ESPN says Lee has been moved to Youngstown State's game at Pittsburgh on the ACC Network on Sept. 2. The network says the decision was made "as the tragic events in Charlottesville were unfolding, simply because of the coincidence of his name." [Associated Press]
  2. Florida education news: Robert E. Lee, anarchy, term limits and more

    Blogs

    CONFEDERATE NAMES: As statues memorializing Confederate soldiers and leaders come down across the nation, the Hillsborough County School Board decides to go slow

  3. Crash closes SB lanes on U.S. 19 at Roosevelt Boulevard in Clearwater

    Accidents

    Lanes on southbound U.S. 19 are closed at Roosevelt Boulevard in Clearwater following a crash early Wednesday morning.

  4. Ex-intelligence chief Clapper questions Trump's fitness to hold office (w/video)

    National

    James R. Clapper Jr., former national intelligence director, questioned President Donald Trump's fitness for office following his freewheeling speech in Phoenix Tuesday night, which Clapper labeled "downright scary and disturbing."

    James R. Clapper Jr., former national intelligence director, questioned President Donald Trump's fitness for office following his freewheeling speech in Phoenix Tuesday night, which Clapper labeled "downright scary and disturbing." [Associated Press]
  5. E Fletcher Avenue may be closed weeks for cavern repairs

    Roads

    Commuters near the University of South Florida will want to find alternate routes with work continuing to repair a "cavern" under E Fletcher Avenue near the Hillsborough River.

     Commuters near the University of South Florida will want to find alternate routes with work continuing to repair a "cavern" under E Fletcher Avenue near the Hillsborough River. [10News WTSP]