Two hot-air balloon victims identified

Identity of pilot of hot-air balloon that crashed Friday hasn't been released.
By Danielle Haynes  |  May 11, 2014 at 1:14 PM
share with facebook
share with twitter

DOSWELL, Va., May 11 (UPI) -- The University of Richmond confirmed Saturday two of its women's basketball staff members were aboard a hot-air balloon that crashed Friday.

Ginny Doyle, 44, and Natalie Lewis, 24, were aboard the balloon at the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival, when it struck a power line and immediately caught fire and crashed.

The pilot's identity hasn't been released.

The remains of two of the three people on board the balloon were found Saturday. Police haven't released the name of the victim who remains missing, but Lewis' parents said their daughter hasn't been found.

"The search continues for our beloved daughter and we remain hopeful and ask for your continued prayers," Patricia and Evan Lewis said in a written statement.

Doyle was the associate head women's basketball coach at the University of Richmond and Lewis the director of basketball operations.

"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," President Edward L. Ayers said in a release issued by the school. "Their leadership and friendship will endure in the lives of so many."

"Words cannot begin to express our sorrow," said Keith Gill, director of athletics. "We are all stunned by the tragic news. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their loved ones."

Doyle posted to Instagram moments before she boarded the hot-air balloon, expressing anxiety about the trip.

"Getting ready to go up!" she wrote in the caption on Instagram.

"Getting ready to go up in a hot air balloon today. Tried it at 6:30am but was too foggy. Will go up this evening #anxiety," she wrote.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories