Videos capture advertising blimp catching fire and crashing at U.S. Open

ERIN, Wisconsin – Authorities in Wisconsin say the pilot of a small advertising blimp was seriously burned when the aircraft crashed at the U.S. Open golf tournament.

The man was the only person aboard when the craft went down shortly before midday at the Erin Hills golf course in Erin, Wisconsin. The blimp went down in an open field near the course.

A statement from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office says the pilot was taken to a hospital by medical helicopter.

The statement says the blimp was on fire or smoking and went down rapidly. The sheriff’s office asked the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board to help investigate the cause.

A witness to the crash of a small advertising blimp at the U.S. Open says the side of the blimp started deflating and it caught fire as it headed toward the ground.

Tim Guetzke described what he saw to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as the craft went to ground Thursday.

The company that operates the blimp says the only person aboard, the pilot, was “OK,” but being taken to a hospital. No one else was hurt as the craft went down in a field about a half-mile from the Erin Hills golf course in Erin, Wisconsin.

The blimp went down in an open field in the Town of Erin, Washington County sheriff’s officials said.

WARNING: Videos contain profanity

The crash happened east of the grounds, in an open field. Multiple spectators at the Open caught the incident on camera.

In a video, witnesses said workers seemed to be parachuting out of the blimp. First responders are on scene for rescue operations and Flight for Life has been summoned to the scene.