The hot air balloon that crashed in Central Texas, killing all 16 passengers on board, struck the power lines before descending.
According to the National Transportation Board, it has not been determined whether the fire ignited before or after the aircraft hit the wires on Saturday.
As reported by NBC News, NTSB member Robert Sumwalt said the bodies of the victims were discovered near the basket. The balloon material, he said, was found almost a mile from the basket. Before it fell, the balloon had travelled around eight miles.
Among those killed in the incident were Matt and Sunday Rowan, who had recently got married, Matt’s brother Josh said. The couple had posted pictures of the balloon and themselves in the basket on social media.
“They were really happy and they were in love and they were really starting a life together,” Josh said.
Josh said that Matt recently started working as an army hospital burns trial unit chief. “[Matt] was doing some amazing work and research,” Josh said. “He felt like a lot of the stuff he was doing would have benefits for soldier and other service members who had been injured by burns.”
“It’s a bit haunting now but I guess it was a bit of a play-by-play,” Josh said, as reported by CBS News.
Factors including weather and the balloon itself are being looked into by the NTSB to determine the cause of the incident. Sumwalt said the board will focus on collecting “perishable evidence, the evidence that goes away with the passage of time.” Sumwalt also asked witnesses to submit videos they may have taken of the incident.
Sumwalt identified Heart of Texas Hot Air Balloon Rides as the company operating the balloon ride. “We’re looking at operation of balloon, pilot, and company that operated the balloon,” Sumwalt said.
— NTSB_Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) July 31, 2016