Crime

Pilot Arrested After Leaving A Couple To Die When He Jumped From A Burning Hot Air Balloon

The pilot who abandoned a family to their fate by jumping from a burning hot air balloon has been taken into custody.

According to The Daily Mail, Victor Guzmán was arrested over the weekend for jumping 16 feet from the aircraft.

After receiving medical treatment for second-degree burns to his face and arm, the man was said to have been taken into custody.

Jose Nolasco, aged 50, gave his wife, Viridiana Becerril, aged 39, and their 13-year-old daughter, Regina Itzani, a surprise ride through the sky on Saturday.

In the State of Mexico, the balloon floated above the pre-Hispanic pyramid site located in Teotihuacán.

For a surprise birthday outing, the family had rented the balloon.

Unfortunately, the enjoyable excursion turned fatal when a problem with the balloon's gas system caused the cabin to be consumed by flames shortly after it took off at approximately 8 am.

It is believed that Jose and Viridiana perished in the fire, while their daughter Regina reportedly exhibited courage by jumping from the burning balloon to the ground below.

Spectators captured the harrowing moment on camera, with Guzmán and Regina seen jumping to safety while the couple tragically lost their lives in the flames.

At present, Regina is undergoing medical treatment at the hospital for a broken arm and second-degree burns.

According to the Mexico Daily News, Guzmán is facing two charges of alleged homicide. He reportedly informed agents from the State of Mexico Attorney General's Office that he left the family as he did not know how to handle the emergency situation.

Reyna Sarmiento, Viridiana's mother, informed the Mexican national newspaper Milenio that just before jumping from the carriage, Regina hugged her parents tightly.

"The girl tells us that the gas tank there, the hydrostatic gas tank, started to light up, and that was what started to burn," the grandmother said.

"She says her parents hugged her, but she turned away from them, and she jumped."

The Federal Aviation Agency is currently conducting an investigation to determine whether Autocinema Retroviso, the company that provided the hot air balloon service, is licensed to operate such services and whether it has adequate insurance coverage for such accidents.

"It is imperative that these same authorities act effectively in order to cancel the operations of companies that, unfortunately, operate outside the legal framework and sometimes in hiding, affecting the safety of the operations of all of us who operate in the immediate vicinity of the archaeological site of Teotihuacán," the federation said.

Between 2002 and 2016, the National Transportation Safety Board reports that the number of fatalities from hot air ballooning was relatively low, with only 16 deaths recorded during this period - averaging to about one death per year.