A rapidly deflating hot air balloon shoots skyward after separating from its gondola Wednesday evening in Burlington. (Photo courtesy of Brian Biedrzycki)


The three people injured Wednesday evening when the hot air balloon they were in struck a train in downtown Burlington were released from the hospital Thursday.

According to the Burlington Police Department, the injured included the pilot, Jimmy Winder, 62, of Bristol; passenger Nikolay Veltchev, 37, of Barrington, Illinois, and passenger Elena Petrova, 36, of Arlington Heights, Illinois.

The pilot was affiliated with the Lake Geneva Balloon Co., which owns the balloon, according to Burlington police.

“The pilot reported while attempting to land the hot air balloon in the 400 block of Calumet Street, the gondola touched down and the balloon became entangled with a northbound Canadian National train,” Burlington police said in a news release.

Witnesses said it appeared the balloon was attempting to make an emergency landing when the collision occurred.

The Burlington Police Department said it continues to work with the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board on the investigation. The National Transportation Safety Board has taken over as lead investigating agency.