Hot air balloon goes down in north Phoenix desert, catches fire

Posted at 9:28 AM, Mar 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-29 20:21:14-04

A hot air balloon went down in a desert area in north Phoenix Wednesday morning, sparking a small fire.

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office spokesman Joaquin Enriquez said the balloon caught fire when it went down near 32nd Street and Carefree Highway. The 13 people on board were not injured.

Phoenix fire crews quickly extinguished the flames that had spread into nearby brush.

Video footage from the Hammersmarck family showed the aftermath of the incident with large flames. Watch the video in the player above. 

A search of a tail number in FAA online records shows the hot air balloon is registered to Hot Air Expeditions in Phoenix.

In a statement released Thursday, the company said the balloon was operated by a pilot with more than 30 years of experience and described the landing as routine.

The fire, on a branch touching a part of the balloon, was noticed only after everyone on board had exited. The company said the flames spread from the tree to the balloon envelope and then to the basket.