ERIN, Wis. (KMOX/AP) updated at 3:30 p.m.– A few hours after the 2017 U.S. Open began, a blimp that was flying above Erin Hills golf course crash-landed and burst into flames in a nearby field.
An official with the company operating an advertising blimp at the U.S. Open says the pilot is “OK” after the craft crashed, but he is being taken to a hospital.
Justin Maynard, a sales manager for Florida-based AirSign, says the company’s operations team on the ground reported on the pilot’s status.
Authorities say the pilot was seriously burned when the aircraft crashed at the U.S. Open golf tournament.
The man was the only person aboard when the craft went down in Erin, Wisconsin. The blimp went down in an open field near the course.
A statement from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office says the pilot was taken to a hospital by medical helicopter.
The sheriff’s office asked the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board to help investigate the cause.
KMOX’s previous reporting:
Videos show a blimp at the 2017 U.S. Open falling from the sky, leaving behind a trail of thick black smoke.
It is not known how many people were aboard the blimp, or if anyone was hurt. Spectators on Twitter say they saw someone with a parachute jump out.
“They were trying to give it some throttle and it didn’t go up,” one spectator told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Then there was a bunch of kabooms and smoke clouds.”
Another witness told the newspaper one side began to sink in, and the blimp caught fire during it descent.
The blimp reportedly landed in a large open field near the golf course.
The blimp is owned by Air Sign, who posted about being above the PGA Tour major event earlier this morning:
The tournament is being played at Erin Hills golf course near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It began Thursday morning under sunshine and practically no threat of bad weather all day.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.