EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

May 11, 2014

Athletic staffer was on Va. hot air balloon

DOSWELL, Va. (AP) — A University of Richmond women’s basketball team staff member was one of three occupants on a hot air balloon that drifted into a power line, burst into flames and crashed in Virginia, her family said Saturday.

The body of Natalie Lewis has not been found, family spokeswoman Julie Snyder told The Associated Press. The remains of the pilot and the other passenger, whom authorities haven’t identified, were found just under a mile apart in densely wooded areas.

More than 100 searchers spent the day scouring the woods and fields around the crash site for the third victim and any remnants of the balloon, police said. The search was being scaled back as darkness approached but was set to resume Sunday.

“The search continues for our beloved daughter and we remain hopeful and ask for your continued prayers,” Lewis’s parents, Patricia and Evan Lewis, said in a statement.

However, state police have described their search as an operation to recover remains.

Snyder called Lewis “an amazing persona and a strong persona, an athlete engaged to be married.”

Lewis just completed her second year as director of basketball operations for the Richmond women’s basketball program, according to a profile on the university’s website. The Buffalo, N.Y., native was a four-year letter winner and two-time captain of the Spiders’ swim team.

The university canceled two weekend baseball games and held a moment of silence at yesterday’s commencement without saying why.

Witnesses described a harrowing sight on the special preview night for the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival, which was set to open yesterday. The festival was canceled. About 740 people attended the preview event.

On the ground, “It was complete silence,” spectator Nancy Johnson said. “There were people praying. It was horrible.”

The balloon was among 13 that lifted off Friday night from Meadow Event Park, home to the State Fair of Virginia, and was approaching a landing site nearby. Two of the balloons landed safely before the third hit the live power line, according to police.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
World/National News

Latest U.S. News
Johnson: Six Arrests, No Tear Gas in Ferguson Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream Raw: Woman Escorted From Ferguson Protests California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Holder Hopes to Bring Calm to Ferguson Holder Pledges Top Investigators for Ferguson US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Manfred, Torre and MLB Take Ice Bucket Challenge Bank of America Reaches Record $17B Settlement GlobalPost CEO Remembers Foley As a Brave Man Holder Reassures Ferguson Community With Visit Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Changes Coming to No-Fly List Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Arrests Witnessed in Ferguson Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape
Latest World News
Raw: Rescue, Relief Efforts at Japan Landslide Today in History August 21 Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Raw: Deadly Landslides in Japan Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Today in History August 20 US Officials: Video Shows American's Beheading US Trying to Verify Video of American's Killing Rockets Fired From Gaza, in Breach of Ceasefire Raw: Japanese Military Live Fire Exercise Today in History August 19 Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Crosses Into Ukraine Raw: Building Collapse in South Africa, 9 Dead Assange Gets Cryptic About Leaving Embassy in UK Raw: Pope Francis Meets 'Comfort Women' Kurdish Peshmergas Retake Mosul Dam
Photos of the Week