BURLINGTON, Wis. - A report from the National Transportation Safety Board provided new details on the June 1 hot air balloon crash in Burlington.
A collision between a hot air balloon and a northbound Canadian National freight train was reported around 8:15 p.m. that night. The balloon's pilot and two passengers were seriously injured. Nobody on the train was hurt.
The train's engineer reported seeing the hot air balloon's descent and began slowing down because he didn't see where it was going, per the NTSB report. He said he saw the balloon approaching the train in his side mirror and applied the train's emergency brakes.
The hot air balloon landed in a grassy area between the train tracks and a street. As it lost air, the balloon blew and got caught on an empty lumber car, was pulled off the ground and ripped from its basket. At that time, the three occupants fell out. The detached balloon then ascended approximately 200 feet into the air.
Flight for Life was requested and transported two of the three patients to Froedtert Hospital for treatment. The third patient was taken to Froedtert via ambulance.
The balloon basket was intact as were both of propane tanks. One fuel line became separated from one of the tanks, and the second tank was separated near the burner. The balloon ultimately came to a rest 500 feet from the basket and was "substantially damaged."