(WAVE) - What was supposed to be a fun sight-seeing adventure turned into a harrowing fall from the sky.
WAVE 3 News has learned a Louisville couple is among several people who were injured in a hot air balloon crash about 40 minutes outside Las Vegas on Thursday.
That crash with a pilot and eight others on board made national headlines as the balloon made a hard landing. Some passengers and the pilot were ejected as the gondola dragged others for more than a half mile.
Tuesday, Tom Stenton remained hospitalized. His wife Shawna told WAVE 3 News that she’s still going through a lot of pain, but she’s now out of the hospital. She had surgery for a broken ankle and femur, and suffered a punctured lung. Her husband was released by then, but was re-admitted to the hospital with blood clots in his legs. The Louisville mother who works as the site-based decision making council coordinator for JCPS said they’re thankful to be alive after the scare of their lives.
The couple visits the Las Vegas area once a year, and Shawna Stenton told WAVE 3 News they were excited about the sight-seeing tour. She said the trip was supposed to be about an hour long, but got longer and longer as they went over mountains, and the pilot began searching for a place to land.
While she and investigators are still not certain what exactly caused the balloon to go down, she said the impact from the hard hit to the ground was like a bad car crash.
The pilot and some passengers were thrown from the gondola, she said. It then went head over tails, and the balloon dragged the gondola with her and her husband and two other passengers as she described, “insanely fast.”
Those four were eventually ejected from the basket, too. Tom called 911. Shawna said it took an hour and 45 minutes for crews to find them in the remote area, and an off-road vehicle took them to an ambulance. One person had to be taken out by helicopter.
Shawna said at this point, she just wants to get herself and husband well enough to come back home.