Officials: Hot air balloon crashes in Peoria

Officials: Hot air balloon crashes in Peoria
Posted at 7:56 AM, Aug 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-01 20:49:45-04

Officials are investigating a hot air balloon crash in Peoria. 

The emergency call was dispatched around 7:30 a.m. Thursday in the desert near Loop 303 and Lake Pleasant Parkway.

Peoria police say one of three people aboard suffered a minor leg injury but did not need medical treatment.

Police who went to the site of the Thursday morning crash found nobody there but Officer Paul Hermans says the pilot later returned to the site.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman, a person that was following the hot air balloon was able to transport them away from the scene.

Doug Lehn lives near where the balloon crashed and happened to be outside when it started to go down.

"I was out cleaning the pool, it was early very calm and very quiet," Lehn said. "[I heard] what sounded like a propane blast, but what was unusual about it is that it kind of sputtered and then it flamed out very quickly."

"I was directly underneath a basket of a large yellow balloon. So I just kinda watched it as it descended under the tree there. Minutes later I heard sirens and I just knew in the pit of my stomach, I realized something has went wrong."

The crash site was next to power lines but Hermans says witnesses said the balloon hit the ground but did not the power lines, which were undamaged.

The FAA says they will investigate the crash. Hermans says the National Transportation Safety Board indicated it'd follow up later with the balloon pilot.