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At least three missing after Va. balloon fire and crash

A hot-air balloon caught fire and apparently crashed Friday on the first evening of a three-day balloon festival held near Interstate 95 in Caroline County, Va.

At least three people were reported in the balloon’s gondola, and a search was underway for them Friday night.

Virginia State Police said a crash was reported about 8 p.m.

In a statement posted online Friday night, the Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival, citing state police reports, said a balloon had caught fire and crashed northeast of Meadow Event Park. The park is east of I-95 in the Doswell area, between Fredericksburg and Richmond.

No wreckage had been found as of late Friday, but the pilot and at least two passengers were missing, the statement said. Organizers said the rest of the balloon festival had been canceled.

Photographs posted online showed the envelope of the balloon intact and the passenger gondola engulfed in flames.

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