Four of the victims, two men and two women, were declared dead at the scene, Albuquerque Police Department spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos told BuzzFeed News. A fifth victim, a man, was taken to the hospital in “critical and unstable condition” but later died of his injuries.
Two of the deceased were identified by officials on Saturday afternoon as Martin Martinez, 59, and his wife, Mary Martinez, 62. Martin was a former officer with the Albuquerque Police Department, and the couple’s son currently works for the department.
The three other victims have not yet been publicly named, as their next of kin must first be notified, but officials said they were residents of the Albuquerque area and between the ages of about 40 and 60.
Video taken by an onlooker showed the deflated balloon plummeting out of the sky. (Warning: this video may be disturbing.)
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.