Martin Martinez Bio/Wiki
On the morning of Saturday, June 26, a hot air balloon collided with an electrical line in New Mexico, cutting off the envelope and sending the basket cascading to the ground, killing five passengers.
According to Albuquerque police, four persons perished at the scene of Saturday’s hot air balloon collision, and another was brought to a local hospital in serious but stable condition, where he died about 3 p.m. The victims were all in their forties or fifties.
Martin Martinez was 59 years old and his wife Mary Martinez was 62 years old.
Mary Martinez is the wife of Martin Martinez. His wife also died in a balloon crash.
Hot Air Balloon Crash Full Details
Martin Martinez, a retired Albuquerque police officer and sergeant in the Albuquerque Public Schools Police Department, and his wife Mary were identified during an afternoon press conference.
The names of the three remaining victims will not be released until their families have been notified. They are described as being in their forties and natives of New Mexico.
Albuquerque Police Department Chief Harold Medina said he worked with Martin Martinez when he initially joined the police, which made the tragedy much more difficult for him and the other officers who reacted.
Medina told the Daily Mail, “In 26 years, it was one of the scenes that hit me the most,”
“There were officers on the scene who worked with Martin and we did have to send some officers home because they were disturbed by what had occurred and it took its toll on them.”
Albuquerque Public Schools has also expressed its sympathy to the Martinez family.
A statement read, “Sgt. Martinez will forever be remembered for his lifelong dedication, courage and selflessness to the profession of law enforcement. He had long careers with both the Albuquerque Police Department and the Albuquerque Public Schools Police Department”
The balloon landed on a street corner in Albuquerque’s West Side neighborhood at 7 a.m. on Saturday, about six miles from Albuquerque International Sunport Airport.
The wind is claimed to have pushed the balloon onto power wires, causing it to catch fire and separate the basket from the colorful envelope. The basket then caught fire and landed in the center of a busy street near a pharmacy, bursting into flames.
Tim Keller, the mayor of Albuquerque, spoke at a press conference on Saturday afternoon, “There were a number of citizens, residents of Albuquerque who ran into a very difficult scene, including an individual with a fire extinguisher, and they just tried to do what they could,”
“If you have ballooned, there are always things that can happen, whether it’s winds, whether it’s equipment,” he added. “It’s something that our pilots always train for, but it’s always something that, it can inherently sometimes occur.”
According to an NTSB database, there have been 12 fatal hot air ballooning accidents in the United States since 2008. Two of them occurred near Albuquerque, in Rio Rancho, including one in January in which a passenger was ejected from the gondola after a rough landing and died as a result of his injuries.
In 2016, a hot air balloon in neighboring Texas collided with high-tension power lines before crashing into a meadow in the state’s central region.
The 16 people on board were all killed. According to federal officials at the time, it was the largest disaster of its kind in US history.