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16 feared dead in Texas balloon crash

LOCKHART, Texas (AP) – A hot air balloon carrying at least 16 people caught on fire and crashed in Central Texas on Saturday, and authorities believe no one survived.

The balloon crashed into a pasture shortly after 7:40 a.m. near Lockhart, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said. The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that investigators are determining the number of victims and their identities.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the situation. NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss said Saturday morning that the agency knows “very, very little right now” about what happened.

The land near the crash site is mostly farmland, with corn crops and grazing cattle. Cutting through that farmland is a row of massive high-capacity transmission lines about 4 to 5 stories tall. The site of the crash appears to be right below the overhead lines, though authorities haven’t provided further details about what happened

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott asked in a statement that “all of Texas to join us in praying for those lost.”

Lockhart is about 30 miles south of Austin.