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Hot-air balloon accident victims officially identified by Virginia state police

The names of the three people killed in Friday’s hot-air balloon accident in Virginia were officially released Monday night by the state police.

The pilot was identified as Daniel T. Kirk, 65, of Hartley, Del. The two passengers were named as Natalie M. Lewis, 24, of Richmond and Virginia “Ginny” T. Doyle, 44, of Glen Allen, Va.

Doyle was associate head women’s basketball coach at the University of Richmond, and Lewis was the team’s director of basketball operations.

The police said the families were asking that their privacy be respected during a difficult time.

Along with the names, the police also forwarded a statement from Doyle’s family.

Family members called her a formidable basketball player who would “always be remembered for her NCAA free-throw shooting record,” which “brought national recognition” and the nickname of “Deadeye Doyle.”

In roles that included daughter and sister, as well as teammate, coach, teacher and friend, the family said, she touched many lives and lived her own “to the fullest.”

Describing Lewis as Doyle’s “colleague and best friend,” the Doyle family expressed condolences to her family and fiancee.

The balloon was one of 13 launched Friday evening in the area of Doswell, Va., which is north of Richmond.

It evidently struck a power line and caught fire, according to a National Transportation Safety Board spokesman.

In a statement issued earlier Monday, state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said the police, the NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration were continuing to investigate the crash.

It said the state police and the NTSB planned to make “targeted recovery missions” to make final recoveries of effects and items associated with the balloon and the victims.

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