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Pilot Seriously Burned After Blimp Crashes At US Open

Blimp Deflates, Catches Fire, Crashes In Field A Half-Mile From Golf Tournament

Matt Kuchar hits to the 10th green during the first round of the U.S. Open
Chris Carlson/AP Photo

Authorities say the pilot of a small advertising blimp was seriously burned when the aircraft crashed at the U.S. Open golf tournament Thursday.

The pilot was taken to a hospital by medical helicopter, according to a statement from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

The pilot of the blimp is “OK” said Justin Maynard, a sales manager for Florida-based AirSign, the company operating the blimp. Maynard had no additional information on the crash that happened during the tournament’s opening round at the Erin Hills golf course in Erin, Wisconsin.

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The man was the only person aboard the blimp when it deflated, caught fire or started to smoke before crashing near the golf course. The blimp went down at about 11:15 a.m. in an open field about a half-mile from the golf course, according to the U.S. Golf Association

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the pilot at this time,” the USGA wrote in a statement shortly after the incident, which is being investigated by local law enforcement, Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.

The PenFed blimp is unaffiliated with the Open, according to the USGA Twitter account.

The Open, one of golf’s four majors, opened play Thursday at the course.

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