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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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One Dead After Balloon Hits Power Lines

Associated Press

A hot air balloon hit power lines on Sunday and exploded, sending the 13 people aboard, some in flames, crashing to the ground. A woman celebrating her birthday was killed.

The balloon lifted off from nearby Hesslewood Hall but struggled to maintain altitude, witnesses said. It landed briefly near a riverbank, then took off again.

Narrowly missing trees, it crashed into power lines at the village of North Ferriby. The balloon’s gas tank exploded and its wicker gondola fell 30 feet.

“People just dropped to the ground, some with their hair on fire, some with their clothes on fire,” said Bob Wilkinson, a local farmer. “One person was completely engulfed in flames.”

Audrey Jones, who turned 75 on Sunday, was killed, police said. Her son, Stephen, 38, 8-year-old granddaughter, Beth, and the other 10 people aboard were injured.

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