Death at Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Death at Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

A woman fell to her death at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta this past weekend.

Known as one of New Mexico’s most popular and colorful events, the three other women in the gondola were hospitalized, when one of the balloons crash-landed in an unfortunate case of wrongful death.

Balloon Hits Utility Pole

Rosemary Wooley Phillips, 60, from Oceanside, CA, was aboard the balloon, “Heavenly Ride,” when it suddenly hit a utility line.

The pilot reportedly threw a tether down to a truck on the ground to free the balloon.

However, the tether broke, causing the gondola to tip and Phillips fell at least 70 feet to the ground.

Phillips was pronounced dead after ambulance workers tried to revive her with no response.

“She was screaming and flailing her arms,” said Bill Birkley, a local resident who witnessed the accident, “ It was the most helpless feeling in the world.”

After Phillips’ fall, the balloon crash-landed, injuring the other passengers, including, Sheryl Diaz, Susan Simpson, and Doris Currier.

Fiesta Continues Despite Concerns

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is an annual nine-day event that reportedly draws balloonist from around the globe as well as hundreds of thousands of spectators.

“Our balloon community is a close-knit family and a time like this is difficult for all of us,” explained Gary Bennett, president of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

Despite concerns from fiesta-goers, the event continued as planned after the tragic accident.

“It puts a bit of a cloud over the fiesta,” commented Chris Hinde, a pilot from England, “we made the decision not to fly today after we heard the news.”

(Source: abclocal)

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