UK
10/05/2014 06:48 BST | Updated 10/05/2014 06:59 BST

Hot Air Balloon Catches Fire And Crashes, Three Missing In Virginia (VIDEO)

A pilot and two passengers are unaccounted for after a hot air balloon reportedly caught fire and plummeted to the ground in the US.

The hot-air balloon is believed to have burst into flames and crashed in Virginia after colliding with a power line Friday night, according to state police.

Officials are now searching for the wreckage, a pilot and two passengers after eyewitnesses said they saw the balloon in flames and heard screams for help.

Carrie Hager-Bradley said she saw the balloon in flames on her way home from the grocery store and heard people yelling, according to WWBT TV.

"They were just screaming for anybody to help them," the station quoted her as saying. "'Help me, help me, sweet Jesus, help. I'm going to die. Oh my God, I'm going to die,'" Hager-Bradley said she heard one person screaming.

The apparent crash happened near the Meadow Event Park in Caroline County, site of the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival, according to the news reports. The festival was scheduled to begin officially on Saturday, but was holding a special kickoff event Friday for a limited number of people, according to the reports, which said organizers have now canceled the rest of the festival.

Some hot air balloons landed safely in Debra Ferguson's yard, she was quoted by The Free Lance-Star of Fredericksburg, Virginia, as saying.

She said one of the men in the balloons pointed up at another still in the air and said he thought it might be in trouble.

"As soon as we looked up, the thing blew up right there," the newspaper quoted Ferguson as saying. "All I heard was, 'Oh my God, Oh my God,' and all you saw was the top of the balloon still flying, but all of the basket was gone. All of the flames just disappeared. ... It was like a match — poof — and then it was gone."