A surprise family day of fun has ended in disaster, leaving a couple dead and their daughter seriously injured as the hot air balloon they were riding in burst into flames.
Jose Nolasco, 50 had surprised his wife, Viridiana Becerril, 39, with a ride through the sky with their 13-year-old daughter Regina Itzani.
However, the fun turned to fear when a fire broke out and their hot air balloon became engulfed in flames. The fire broke out at around 8am, local time on Sunday morning, as the family travelled over the pre-Hispanic ruin site of Teotihuacan, just north of Mexico City.
The unfortunate pair, Jose and Viridiana, are believed to have been burnt to death, leaving behind their daughter, Regina, who was reported to have bravely jumped from the fire to the ground below.
The young girl is in hospital with a broken arm, suffered on landing, and second-degree burns. However, the 15-year-old is expected to recover.
A last photo of the happy family, taken moments before they embarked on their doomed voyage, has been circulating the internet.
Reyna Gloria Sarmiento, Regina’s grandmother and Viridiana's grieving mother, told local press the teenager had yet to be told her parents had died but is 'conscious' and stable in hospital.
She explained about the incident: “It was the birthday of my daughter Viridiana, Regina’s mum, and they had prepared this ride as as a surprise for her.”
A horrified onlooker was able to capture footage of the terrifying incident, which showed the hot air balloon appear to deflate as flames engulfed the basket below where the Mexican family had been enjoying their ride just moments before.
The onlooker is heard saying in Spanish: “My God, people are falling!" as a person is seen plummeting to the ground.
It was not immediately clear if that person was Regina or the pilot of the hot air balloon who is said to have been the second person who jumped as flames engulfed the basket.
The Attorney General of the State of Mexico has now announced the pilot - identified only as Victor N - has been arrested.
An investigation into the tragic incident has begun with initial reports from local police and experts saying it could be linked to a fault in the fuel storage system.
A statement from Town Hall officials in Caujimalpa de Morelos, west of Mexico City where the family came from, said: “We send our condolences to the family, friends and acquaintances of Jose Nolasco and Viridiana Becerril who died in the hot air balloon tragedy in Teotihuacan.
“Our solidarity and prayers are with Regina and we wish her a speedy recovery.”Featured Image Credit: Twitter / Facebook