A pilot has been arrested after a hot air balloon caught fire killing a husband and wife in Mexico, and seriously injuring their teenage daughter.
Victor Guzman was arrested after jumping from the burning balloon and running from the scene. He was taken to the hospital after being discharged with burns covering 90 percent of his body.
Jose Nolasco, 50, and his wife, Feridiana Becerril, 39, were killed when the plane plummeted to the ground in a fiery crash over the pre-Hispanic pyramid site in Teotihuacan, Mexico, on Saturday.
Their 13-year-old daughter, Regina Itzani, survived after jumping out of the ill-fated plane before it hit the ground but remains in hospital with a broken arm and second-degree burns.
Guzmán told designated agents at the Mexico State Attorney General’s office that he gave away the balloon — which the family had rented for a surprise birthday trip — because he didn’t know how to respond to an emergency.
Pilot Victor Guzman was arrested at a hospital in central Mexico on Sunday hours after he fled a hot air balloon that caught fire and crashed, killing a couple and injuring their 13-year-old daughter.
Jose Nolasco and his wife, Feridiana Becerril, with their daughter, Regina Itzani. Itzani told her maternal grandmother that her parents hugged her moments before she jumped
Victor Guzman told the police that he was afraid because he did not know how to handle the accident and left the hot air balloon
Mexico’s Federal Aviation Agency is looking into the hot air balloon fire Saturday morning that killed a married couple and injured their daughter
Footage of the balloon showed flames blazing through the air above the pre-Hispanic pyramid site in Teotihuacan, Mexico, on Saturday morning.
Witnesses said Guzmán jumped from the balloon as it flew into the flames 16 feet above the ground, leaving the family behind.
I crashed to the ground and ran.
Her family told Mexican news outlet Milenio that the accident killed Jose Nolasco, 50, and his wife Feridiana Becerril, 39, who was celebrating her birthday.
Their daughter, Regina Itzani, 13, suffered second-degree burns and a fracture to her right arm. She underwent surgery and was in Toluca Children’s Hospital until Monday.
Forensic experts are working in the area where a hot air balloon caught fire and collapsed Saturday, killing a couple and injuring their daughter.
Forensic experts and members of the National Guard work in the area where the hot air balloon caught fire and the Teotihuacan Rivers, State of Mexico
Her mother, Rena Sarmiento, told Milenio that the hot air balloon ride came as a surprise to Becerel.
The plane left around 8 am and had a problem with the gas system, which set the cabin on fire.
Itzani told her grandmother that her parents hugged her when the balloon caught fire. She is said to have jumped out of the balloon while it was floating 131 feet in the air and miraculously survived.
“The girl tells us that the gas tank there, the hydrostatic gas tank, started to ignite and that’s what started to burn,” Sarmiento said. “She says her parents hugged her, but she pulled away from them and jumped.”
National Guardsmen and experts are investigating the crash area, where a hot air balloon caught fire mid-flight over the archaeological area of Teotihuacan on Saturday.
The Federal Aviation Agency is leading the investigation and examining whether Autocinema Retroviso is licensed to operate a hot air balloon service and if it has adequate insurance to cover accidents.
The company is owned by Zed Sanchez, whose uncle, Mario Vidal, is the commissioner of the Public Security Department of Teotihuacan.
The Hot Air Balloon Federation of Teotihuacan said in a statement that the eight companies providing such a service, Autocinema Retroviso, was not one of them.
It is essential that these same authorities act effectively in order to abolish the operations of companies that, unfortunately, operate outside the legal framework and sometimes in hiding, affecting the safety of operations of all of us who operate in the immediate vicinity of the archaeological site of Teotihuacan,” said the federation.