"It was the birthday of my daughter, Viridiana, (the teen girl's mom), and they had prepared this ride as a surprise for her," the woman's mom said.
Two people died after a hot air balloon in Mexico City caught fire. The balloon ride took place over the pre-Hispanic ruin site of Teotihuacan which is considered to be a popular tourist area. The deceased has been identified as a married couple, Jose Nolasco, 50, and Virginia Becerril, 38, from the city of Caujimalpa de Morelos, just 12 miles away from Mexico City according to The New York Post. Their daughter suffered a broken arm and second-degree burns after jumping out of the balloon. She is expected to survive.
Two people died and a girl was injured after the hot air balloon they were riding in caught fire near Mexico City. https://t.co/YqZwXyF6Dz— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 3, 2023
The girl's grandmother Reyna Gloria Sarmiento told the local press that she was "conscious" and stable, per PEOPLE. Sarmiento reportedly said, "It was the birthday of my daughter, Viridiana, (the girl's mom), and they had prepared this ride as a surprise for her." She claimed that the girl hugged her parents before jumping out of the balloon which appeared to still be tethered to the ground. It’s not clear if a pilot was on board the balloon. At the time while the girl was recovering, she was not informed that her parents had passed away.
A video has been doing the rounds on the internet showing the basket of the balloon engulfed in flames. A person descending from the balloon can also be seen. Police were reportedly present at the site where the balloon finally landed. They are still looking into what caused the fire and an investigation is underway. Initial reports state that the fire could have broken out due to the fault of the fuel storage system. It is believed that the accident took place just moments after the family posed for one last photo together in front of the balloon.
Town hall officials in Caujimalpa de Morelos 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." They offered their "solidarity and prayers" to the girl "and we wish her a speedy recovery."
According to NBC News, the area is best known for its twin Temples of the Sun and Moon. Teotihuacan was once a large city that housed over 100,000 inhabitants and covered around 8 square miles. There's a lot of mystery around the city which was one of the largest in the world at its apex between 100 B.C. and A.D. 750. According to history, it was abandoned before the rise of the Aztecs in the 14th century.
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