Five dead after hot air balloon crashes into power line and plunges to ground

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Five people have lost their lives after a hot air balloon hit a power line and caught fire.

The balloon then plunged to the ground as the power was cut off in the area of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Police confirmed that four people had died following the incident on Saturday, but sadly, a fifth person who was rushed to hospital fighting for their lives has now died.

Three of the victims were men and two were men, Albuquerque Police Department (APD) confirmed in a statement.

The balloon hit the wires before the gondola skirted along the top wire and caught ablaze.

It then crashed into the intersection, APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos told CNN.

"Unfortunately when police and fire officials arrived they found four deceased on site," he added.

Tim Keller, Albuquerque mayor, attended the scene of the fatal balloon crash.

"Liz and I are heartbroken by the ballooning accident this morning," Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller tweeted.

"This is a terrible tragedy for our city and the ballooning community worldwide."

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Of those who died, retired APD officer Martin Martinez, 59, and his wife Mary, 62, were named.

"Their families are experiencing deep suffering right now," Keller said.

Martinez was working in security in public schools after retiring from the force, Police Chief Harold Medina added.

"Sgt. Martinez will forever be remembered for his lifelong dedication, courage, and selflessness to the profession of law enforcement," the school district said in a written statement.

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"He had long careers with both the Albuquerque Police Department and the Albuquerque Public Schools Police Department."

Although Martinez retired several years ago, a number of active cops who rushed to the scene had worked with him, according to the chief, and were sent home.

"We did have to send a number of officers home," Medina said. "It took its toll on them."

"It's just a very tragic situation," Gallegos said, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

"Our officers who arrived first on scene had a tough time when they saw what they saw. These things are just horrible anytime they happen."

Police are working to identify the families of the remaining three victims.

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