Murfreesboro Couple Survives Fiery Hot Air Balloon Crash In Arizona

Posted at 9:57 PM, Mar 30, 2018

Becky and Ronnie Gandy narrowly escaped a hot air balloon when it crashed and burst into flames during a trip to Arizona.

“It was just like the Hindenburg, I mean it just went poof,” Ronnie said. 

While on a business trip in Phoenix, Arizona last week they booked a hot air balloon ride. 

“That was my idea, I wanted to surprise her,” Ronnie said. 

It was a surprise for Becky, a bucket list item for Ronnie. When asked if she every brought up going on a balloon ride, Becky smiled and said, "never." 

However, up they went with 11 other people including the pilot. 

“The views were beautiful,” said Becky. 

After about an hour of soaring above the desert it was time to land and that's when the adventure began.

"The pilot said hold on, we’re going to hit that tree,” Ronnie explained. 

The landing was a bit rough, but the basket made it to the ground but things quickly turned dangerous.

“At that point, the wind shifted and the balloon went over in front of the burners and that’s when the balloon caught on fire,” said Ronnie.

The fire was spreading, meanwhile 13 people scrambled to get to safety.  

“I had a sense of urgency to get out of the basket," explained Becky. Once she was out, she realized Ronnie was still in the basket and it was all caught on her cell phone camera. 

“So I was up there trying to get my leg up,” Ronnie laughed.

Luckily everyone made it to safety without any injuries just as the basket went up in flames. The pilot had cut the balloon loose.

“They were hollering call the fire department, call the fire department, the desert is going to catch on fire,” Ronnie said. 

The blaze was contained and in the end, Ronnie said the fiery landing only added to their experience. 

“We’d do it again. I would, I can’t speak for Becky but we’re pretty adventurous,” Ronnie laughed. “I don’t feel the need to do it again,” laughed Becky.