The pilot of a gas balloon that crashed into power lines in North Texas earlier this week said he and his co-pilot were being shot at and attempted to make an emergency landing.
“We heard more and more automatic guns. It was not one shot. It was, ‘Do, do, do, do, do, do!’” Krzystotf Zapart, who along with Pjotr Halas, were competing for the Polish national team in the Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race, told FOX 4 Dallas-Forth Worth.
The men’s hydrogen-filled balloon burst into flames after it hit the power lines Monday, but they were saved by some good Samaritans.
“You looked in the basket and could barely see because of the flames and the smoke,” Israel Alfaro, a Dallas English teacher who helped with the rescue, said. “The gentleman in the basket couldn’t help us with his weight because his legs were broken. When we pulled him out, we had to drag him through some of the fire.”
He said two others had already helped Zapart get out.
Zapart suffered cuts and burns and an injury to his ribcage. Halas has more serious burns and a broken bone, FOX 4 reported.
Alfaro later visited Halas in the hospital. ” “It was relieving being able to see him in much better condition than the night of the accident,” he said. “We thank God we were able to help him out. And there at the right time.”
Halas has been upgraded from critical condition to serious, a hospital spokesperson told FOX 4.
Zapart told the station he was worried someone might think they were a Chinese spy balloon.
“Most people in the West thinking about Chinese spy balloons,” he said. “I think it is a big problem for us.”
He said they were looking for a place to land but couldn’t avoid the power lines.
The Crandall Police Department told FOX 4 it had not heard about shots being fired at the balloon. Fox News Digital has reached out to the department.
The NTSB is investigating the crash.
“Both of these pilots are very experienced in gas ballooning, and we obviously are hoping for their quick recovery,” a race spokesperson told FOX 4.
Original article source: Gas balloon crashed into Texas power lines while attempting to land amid gunfire, pilot says