From the New York Times
“Thunderstorm Cited in Crash That Killed Five on a Balloon”
—AP Published: August 18, 1981
I can honestly tell you that I knew, and I mean I truly knew that we were about to die. I was sure that the pilot, Jamie, also knew. Ken had to have known. I felt sorry for the three passengers. They had no idea of what lay ahead of them. They were like little babies, un-aware of how bad fire was. They did not have the training, experience, and more so, the knowledge that comes with skydiving. I knew that when you come into contact with power wires, that is the VERY WORST of all emergency landings. You are told to keep your hands over your face and turn your head away from the fire. The last I saw, the three passengers were peering over the edge of the basket at the power wire that had snagged us. I’m sure they were totally unaware of what to expect. In those brief moments I knew what the outcome would be! The dreaded moment came, and come it did, with more fi re and intense heat than anyone has ever experienced and lived to tell the story!
I have kept this inside of me for all these years – bottled up – only to come out in the late hours of my sleep. I guess you could call them nightmares. I could not talk about this horrific tragedy. It wasn’t even a choice....I just could not talk about it. Here, deep inside of me, is where this deadly disaster has remained for the past thirty years. Why is it now coming out? Why am I able to tell the details now? How is it possible for me to re-live this story of death at this point in my life? I am not sure, but I do know that it began to seep and now it pours out of me and I must not try to hold it back.