Third Body Recovered in Hot Air Balloon Crash in Virginia: Report

Monday, 12 May 2014 01:23 PM

By Michael Mullins

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A third body was recovered over the weekend in the hot air balloon crash that occurred Friday in Virginia.

According to police, the hot air balloon burst into flames after it drifted into a power line before falling to the ground in a heavily wooded area, ABC News reported.

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Though police have yet to release the names of the victims, the University of Richmond released a news release Saturday that confirmed associate head coach Ginny Doyle, 44, and Director of Basketball Operations Natalie Lewis, 24, were two of the three people aboard the balloon when it crashed.

The third person who was on the hot air balloon when it went down was the pilot, identified as Daniel Kirk by his father in an interview with CNN on Sunday.

According to Donald Kirk, Daniel's father, his 66-year-old son was a former Army veteran who had been piloting balloons for more than 30 years. The vet never flew if the weather conditions weren't right, CNN reported.

"He was a very good pilot," Donald Kirk said. "Something happened. I just don't know what happened."

Upon learning that Doyle and Lewis were aboard the hot air balloon when it went down, University of Richmond President Edward L. Ayers released a statement.

"As alumnae, classmates, and colleagues — and as invaluable and devoted mentors for our student-athletes — Ginny and Natalie have been beloved members of our community. Their leadership and friendship will endure in the lives of so many," the statement read.

Though it is unclear whether or not the Federal Aviation Administration had inspected the hot air balloon in question before it went down, FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen told CNN that the agency "routinely conducts surveillance at air shows, balloon festivals, and other aviation events."

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