(CBS4/CNN) – Twelve people were hospitalized in Wyoming on Monday after several hot air balloons crashed to the ground, officials said. Three hot air balloons carrying a total of 36 people crashed, according to the Jackson Hole Fire Chief.
Authorities received a call just after 8 a.m. local time reporting that three sightseeing balloons had gone down near the foothills of the Teton Village Resort Community, which is located about 12 miles northwest of Jackson.
A Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson said each balloon “landed hard under unknown circumstances”.
Of the 36 people on board the balloons, 11 were transported to local hospitals and one was transported to a Level 1 trauma center in Idaho Falls.
Clinton Phillips, along with his wife and three children, told CBS4 partner CBS 11 in Dallas they were visiting from Texas and were all in the largest balloon that crashed. That balloon, which was carrying almost two-dozen people, hit the ground hard, tipped over and was dragged more than 100 yards before coming to rest in a ravine. Several members of the family were hurt. Phillips said at least two of his children suffered minor injures and he believes his wife may have broken ribs.
It appears the pilots of the balloons experienced an unexpected downdraft of winds that forced the balloons down.
Both the National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are investigating.
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