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Hot-air balloon fire: Remains of 3rd victim found

May 11, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
The remains of a third victim in a hot-air balloon crash in Virginia were found on Sunday, authorities said.

The remains were found around 11 a.m. about 100 yards north of where a second victim was found Saturday.

The recovery marks the end of a nearly two-day, 100-man search in the woods and fields of central Virginia.

The balloon crashed Friday near the Meadow Event Park during a kick-off event for the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival. The balloon hit a power line and caught fire.

Investigators say the pilot, Daniel T. Kirk, attempted to retain control of the balloon and two passengers either jumped or fell from the flaming gondola.

University of Richmond administrators said in a news release Saturday that associate head coach Ginny Doyle and director of basketball operations Natalie Lewis were two of the three people aboard the balloon that crashed.

"Words cannot begin to express our sorrow," Keith Gill, the school's athletic director, said in a news release. "We are all stunned by the tragic news. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their loved ones."

Kirk had 20 years of flying experience and was affectionately known as "Capt. Kirk." The three victims were mourned Sunday by friends, family and colleagues.

The balloon festival was supposed to run through Sunday, but organizers have canceled the event. The university canceled two weekend baseball games and held a moment of silence at its commencement Saturday.

An air safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board said a preliminary report would be released on the crash in 10 days. Investigators were seeking records on the balloon and the pilot.

ABC News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.


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