Two Victims in Fatal Hot Air Balloon Accident Were Women's Basketball Coaches at the University of Richmond
Doswell, VA, - Two victims of a fatal hot air balloon crash over the weekend have been identified as Women's Basketball Coaches at the University of Richmond.Natalie Lewis, 24, and Ginny Doyle, 44, were both coaches at University of Richmond's women's basketball program and graduates of the university.A pictured shared via Instagram showed the two women right before they were to take off on the ill-fated balloon flight that would take their life.University of Richmond officials say 44-year-old Ginny Doyle was aboard the balloon that crashed Friday at the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival in Doswell, Virginia. The bodies of all three aboard had been found by Sunday.Doyle was known as a skilled free-throw shooter at Archbishop Ryan High School in Philadelphia before she set the NCAA women's record with 66 consecutive free throws during her senior season at Richmond, where she graduated in 1992. The record stood until 2011.Doyle was the associate head coach of the Richmond Spiders women's basketball team. She previously was an assistant college coach at Rhode Island and East Carolina.Virginia state police say the hot air balloon that drifted into a power line, burst into flames and fell into a heavily wooded area about 25 miles north of Richmond Saturday.ABC 13 researched the weather before and after the balloon accident. Thunderstorms were developing near the Richmond area, and a 38 mph wind gust was recorded close to the time of the balloon accident. The air currents in any thunderstorm can play havoc on aircraft as updrafts, downdrafts and cross winds blow with sudden fury compared to the average wind.Doyle was the associate head coach of the Richmond Spiders women's basketball team. She previously was an assistant college coach at Rhode Island and East Carolina.State police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said the searchers found the body at 11 a.m. Sunday.Over 100 people from the Virginia State Police, Caroline County Sheriff's Office, Caroline County Fire and Rescue, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Civil Air Patrol, and multiple search-and-rescue teams, including canine teams, fanned out across the area near the Caroline Pines Subdivision to expand their search efforts over Saturday.The bodies of the two other passengers had previously been found over the weekend.Veteran hot air balloon pilot Daniel T. Kirk was at the controls. His body was found around 11 a.m. Sunday, NTSB officials say.
The third body was found approximately 100 yards north of where the second occupant was found Saturday, according to the NTSB.??
Investigators are now concentrating on locating the balloon wreckage and evidence collection.- The Associated Press, ABC News, WRIC, WVEC and The National Weather Service contributed to this story.