Hot air balloon pilot, 2 passengers released from hospital and recovering after crashing into train

NOW: Hot air balloon pilot, 2 passengers released from hospital and recovering after crashing into train

BURLINGTON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Burlington Police Department has released the names of the three people injured Wednesday night after a hot air balloon they were in collided with a Canadian National Train near the 400 block of Calumet Street.

62-year-old Jimmy Winder was the pilot of the balloon. Winder is affiliated with the Lake Geneva Balloon Company, owners of the balloon. The two passengers in the balloon were 37-year-old Nikolay Veltchev and 36-year-old Elena Petrova, both from Illinois.

An update from police Thursday afternoon indicated all three had been released from Froedtert Hospital and are recovering from their injuries.

"This was an unfortunate event that happened and that's all there is to it," said Ken Walter, a hot air balloon pilot with over 20 years of experience. "You do the best you can to keep your passengers safe, and I guarantee you that this pilot did everything he could to keep his passengers safe."

Walter said the pilot, Winder, was "absolutely experienced." He said Wednesday night was a great night for flying and called the landing spot where Winder attempted to touch down "suitable."

"There was nothing out of the ordinary for what was being done and there was no distress situation," Walter said. "This wasn't a distress thing. It's just an incident that happened. He didn't have a problem, didn't hit a building, didn't hit a chimney or the power lines."

According to the Burlington Police Department, the gondola touched down but the balloon itself became entangled with a northbound Canadian National train.

The Burlington Police Department is continuing to work with the Federal Aviation Administration and National Traffic Safety Board, Canadian National and Wisconsin State Patrol as the incident remains under investigation.

CBS 58 reached out to Lake Geneva Balloon Company for comment and have not heard back.

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