Up to 16 feared dead in Texas hot air balloon crash

A photo posted on social media showed a balloon in the air with huge flames spurting underneath.

Police cars block access to the site where a hot air balloon crashed early on July 30, 2016, near Lockhart, Texas. James Vertuno/AP Photo

WASHINGTON // Up to 16 people were feared dead on Saturday after a large hot air balloon caught fire and crashed in central Texas.

The accident occurred shortly after 7.40am local time, when the balloon crashed into a field near Lockhart, around 30 miles south of Austin.

“It does not appear at this time that there were any survivors of the crash,” the Caldwell County sheriff’s office said.

“When the emergency responders and the sheriff’s office arrived on the scene, it was apparent that the reported fire was the basket portion of a hot-air balloon.”

Texas governor Greg Abbott offered condolences to those affected by the crash.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, as well as the Lockhart community,” he said.

A photo posted on social media apparently depicting the accident showed a balloon in the air with huge flames spurting underneath.

Federal Aviation Administration investigators are on their way to the site, with the National Transportation Safety Board taking charge of the investigation.

* Agence France-Presse