Family files lawsuit over deadly balloon crash in New Mexico

Sep 28, 2021

Credit Jesus Villanueva/YouTube

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The family of a passenger on a hot air balloon that crashed and killed five people in Albuquerque in June is suing the estate of the deceased pilot and the companies that operated the commercial balloon.

Martin Martinez's family filed the lawsuit last week in state district court. It names Hot Air Balloonatics LLC, Sventato LLC, and the estate of the pilot, Nicholas Meleski. The suit accuses Meleski of piloting the balloon in a reckless manner. A Federal Aviation Administration report shows the pilot had marijuana and cocaine in his blood and urine.

The National Transportation Safety Board hasn’t ruled on the cause of the crash.