Hot air balloon fire disaster kills parents whose daughter jumps for her life

A hot air balloon disaster has killed couple and left their daughter seriously injured.

Jose Nolasco, 50, and his wife Viridiana Becerril, 39, were enjoying a ride through the sky with 13-year-old Regina Itzani when their traditional vehicle became engulfed in flames.

Fire broke out at around 8am local time as the family travelled over the pre-Hispanic ruin site of Teotihuacan, just north of Mexico City on Sunday morning.

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Jose and Viridiana are understood to have been burnt to death leaving behind their daughter Regina, who was reported to have bravely jumped from the fire to the ground below.

She is now in hospital with a broken arm suffered on landing and second-degree burns but is expected to survive.

A photo of the family was taken moments before they embarked on their doomed hot air balloon voyage which was booked as a birthday surprise for mum Viridiana.

Reyna Gloria Sarmiento, Regina’s grandmother, told local press the teenager had yet to be told her parents had died.

She added: “It was the birthday of my daughter Viridiana, Regina’s mum, and they had prepared this ride as as a surprise for her.”

Saying her granddaughter was “conscious” and stable in hospital, Gloria also revealed she had hugged her parents before jumping out of the hot air balloon.

Footage of the tragedy taken by an onlooker showed the hot air balloon deflating as flames engulfed the basket below where the Mexican family were enjoying their ride.

The onlooker could be overheard saying in Spanish: “My God, people are falling” as a person plummeted to the ground.

It was not immediately clear if that person was Regina, or the pilot of the hot air balloon who is said to have been the second person who jumped out of the basket as it was engulfed by flames. His whereabouts were unknown following the incident.

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An investigation into the tragedy is ongoing. Initial local reports said it could be linked to a fault in the fuel storage system.

Town hall officials in Caujimalpa de Morelos west of Mexico City where the family came from, said in a statement: “We send our condolences to the family, friends and acquaintances of Jose Nolasco and Viridiana Becerril who died in the hot air balloon tragedy in Teotihuacan.

“Our solidarity and prayers are with Regina and we wish her a speedy recovery.”


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