A tourist hot-air balloon carrying 32 passengers caught fire in stormy weather and crashed near the Slovenian capital Ljubljana on Thursday.
Firefighters and police found the wreckage still in flames when arriving on the scene. The horrific accident claimed the lives of four passengers and injured 28 others, 6 of whom were young children. Search teams with dogs scoured the cornfields in a suburb of Ljubljana to recover all of the passengers from the crash site.
The balloon caught fire and plummeted to the ground after requesting to land fifteen minutes ahead of schedule due to stormy conditions. The exact cause of the accident has not yet been determined, but eyewitnesses report seeing the balloon hit a tree while trying to land, then rising into the air again and catching fire before the crash. Ljubljana police said a full investigation of the incident is ongoing.
Survivor Tomaž Simeć told Slovenian television station Kanal A, "We were landing but I think the speed was too high. We hit the ground, bounced off once, and hit it again. We held on but five of us fell out. After that, I no longer remember."
All passengers who were on board the balloon were accounted for in the search, and the injured were taken to area hospitals.