A fifth person was taken to the hospital in “critical and unstable condition,” Albuquerque Police Department spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos told BuzzFeed News.
Video taken by an onlooker showed the deflated balloon plummeting out of the sky. (Warning: this video may be disturbing.)
It is not yet known how the deadly accident happened. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will conduct an investigation into the cause, Gallegos said.
Hot air balloon rides are a popular tourist attraction in New Mexico’s largest city, particularly in October, when the city hosts its annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
Gallegos told the Associated Press changes in wind can make hot air balloons difficult to control. “Our balloonists tend to be very much experts at navigating, but sometimes we have these types of tragic accidents,” he said.
Power was out in much of the area for several hours due to the crash, with nearly 14,000 households affected, according to utility company PNM.