Report: Gas balloon pilot says they crashed in Texas while avoiding gunfire

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A balloon racing in this year’s Gordon Bennett Cup, which began in Albuquerque, crashed into power lines in Texas on Monday. There are new reports that the gas balloon was avoiding gunfire.

The Poland Team 1 balloon caught fire after crashing into a set of power lines in Crandall, Texas – not even two days after it took off from Balloon Fiesta Park.

Around 7:25 p.m. Monday, the Tracking Leaderboard showed the balloon stopped moving. Witnesses said the balloon was leaking some kind of liquid and there was an explosion when it hit those power lines. 

The two balloon pilots, Krzystolf Zapart and Pjotr Halas, were taken to a hospital in Dallas.

“Both are experienced gas balloon pilots who have logged significant time in gas balloons. Our thoughts are with the gentlemen, their families and friends for a full and complete recovery,” Balloon Fiesta officials said in a statement issued Tuesday morning.

One of the pilots told a Dallas TV station they were rushing to land because they were trying to avoid gunfire. Both pilots suffered serious injuries – Zapart sustained cuts and burns to his legs while Halas sustained burns and broken bones in his legs and midsection.