VIDEO: Pilot of Hot Air Balloon Had Ketamine in System During Fatal Arizona Crash

The pilot who died during a hot air balloon crash in Arizona in January reportedly had the drug ketamine in his system at the time.

The crash that happened near Eloy killed four individuals, Fox 10 reported Thursday. Among those who lost their lives was a young nurse while another person was seriously injured, according to Breitbart News.

The Fox article continued:

Cornelius van der Walt, 37, had enough ketamine in his blood to be considered impaired for driving, according to a medical examiner’s report obtained by USA Today. The report said he did not have a prescription for the drug, and that rescue crews that tried to revive him did not utilize the drug.

Van der Walt, a resident of Eloy who was originally from South Africa, was piloting the balloon when it carried 13 adults on Jan. 14. Eight skydivers jumped before any issues with the balloon arose, while Van der Walt and four others remained on board.

A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said the crash happened in a field following an “unspecified problem.”

Video footage shows crews at the scene after the crash where they gathered up the hot air balloon.

According to the Department of Justice/Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ketamine is described as being a dissociative anesthetic that can produce hallucinogenic effects.

“Ketamine can induce a state of sedation (feeling calm and relaxed), immobility, relief from pain, and amnesia (no memory of events while under the influence of the drug),” the agency said.

RELATED VIDEO — Shocking! Hot Air Balloon Crashes into Power Lines in Minnesota:

MnDOT via Storyful

It may take investigators more than a year to finish a final report on what happened during the incident, the Fox article noted.

The outlet also said the other passengers killed were identified as “Chayton Wiescholek, 28, of Union City, Michigan; Kaitlynn Bartrom, 28, of Andrews, Indiana; and Atahan Kiliccote, 24, of Cupertino, California.”

The passenger who lived but suffered critical injuries was identified as 23-year-old Valerie Stutterheim.

In August, officials said a hot air balloon pilot in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was on coke and marijuana during a fatal 2021 crash that killed five people, per Breitbart News.



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