Sunday, May 11, 2014

Richmond Confirms 2 WBB Staffers Dead In Hot Air Balloon Accident


While the search intensifies for the third victim in a surprising and tragic hot air balloon accident in Richmond, Virginia, the University of Richmond has announced that two women's basketball staffers were among the dead.

Associate head women’s basketball coach Ginny Doyle and director of basketball operations Natalie Lewis were on the balloon that crashed.

The balloon containing Doyle and Lewis struck power lines and caught on fire and the gondola separated from the balloon itself. Two people were seen either falling or jumping from the gondola once it caught on fire and eyewitnesses report hearing people saying:

"Jesus, help us. We're going to die!"

Grief counselors were available on campus and baseball games with St. Bonaventure were cancelled.

"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,” UR President Edward L. Ayers said in a statement. “Their leadership and friendship will endure in the lives of so many.”

“Words cannot begin to express our sorrow,”
UR Athletic Director Keith Gill said in a statement. “We are all stunned by the tragic news. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their loved ones.”

Here's the presser identifying the second victim

The Virginia State Police are now calling the search for the third victim a recovery mission instead of a rescue mission.

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