Written by Officer Dusty Francisco 06/27/2021
This update identifies the deceased victims in the fatal hot air balloon crash.
Bernalillo County- On June 26, 2021, the New Mexico State Police was requested by the Albuquerque Police Department to investigate a hot air balloon crash with multiple fatalities in Albuquerque, NM.
At approximately 7:34 a.m., New Mexico State Police officers responded to the scene located near Unser Boulevard and Central Avenue in Albuquerque, NM. Upon arrival officers located five occupants, the pilot and four passengers. The pilot, identified as Nicholas Meleski (62) of Albuquerque, along with three passengers; Susan Montoya (65), Mary Martinez (59) and Martin Martinez (62) all from Albuquerque, NM, sustained fatal injuries in the crash. They were pronounced deceased on scene by the Office of Medical Investigator. One other passenger, John Montoya (61) of Albuquerque, NM was transported from the scene by emergency personnel to an area hospital in Albuquerque. He later succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased.
The initial investigation indicates the balloon descended towards the ground and struck an overhead power line. The basket became engulfed in flames. The Albuquerque Police and Fire Department arrived on scene, extinguished the fire, and rendered aid.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigators were notified to investigate the crash. Inquiries into the cause of the crash should be made directly to the FAA.
The New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau, Crime Scene Unit, Crash Reconstruction Unit and Aerial Drone Team assisted in the investigation.