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    Two Dead, One Remains Missing in Va. Balloon Crash

    By By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
    May 13, 2014, 12:53:59 AM EDT

    Two bodies have been recovered, and the search continues for the third, after a hot air balloon caught fire and crashed around 8 p.m., Friday evening in Virginia.

    While descending, the balloon reportedly came in contact with a live utility line before catching fire, according to Virginia State Police.

    Two of the people on board were from the University of Richmond's athletics department.

    Ginny Doyle, associate head women's basketball coach, and Natalie Lewis, director of basketball operations, were on the balloon, the university said in a news release. Official identification is pending from the Virginia Medical Examiner's Office.

    "As alumnae, classmates, and colleagues – and as invaluable and devoted mentors for our student-athletes – Ginny and Natalie have been beloved members of our community," university President Edward L. Ayers said. "Their leadership and friendship will endure in the lives of so many."

    The crash occurred ahead of this weekend’s mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival in Doswell, in rural Caroline County about 25 miles north of Richmond. The festival has been canceled, according to the festival website.


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    The weather was calm, with winds around 3 to 6 mph around the time of the crash, said AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

    “There were storms in south central Virginia moving eastward, but they were still a significant distance away from the balloon site at the time of the incident,” Sosnowski said.

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