ERIN, Wis. (KMSP) - An advertising blimp has crashed at the U.S. Open golf tournament at Erin Hills outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Video from spectators posted on social media shows a cloud of smoke and someone in a parachute descending to the course.
At 11:15 a.m., a sheriff’s deputy working security saw the blimp catch on fire and start rapidly falling towards the ground, according to the Washington County sheriff’s office. The blimp crashed in an open field in the Town of Erin.
The pilot, the only person in the blimp, sustained serious burns and injuries in the crash. He was medically evacuated from the scene.
The blimp had been in the air for several hours before it fell from the sky. Based on their initial investigation, the sheriff’s office believes the blimp may have been experiencing mechanical problems prior to the crash.
AirSign, the company that owns the blimp posted the following message on Twitter: "Thanks to everyone for your concerns, the blimp pilot is being taken to the hospital but is expected to be ok. No details on cause of crash."
Earlier in the day, AirSign was posting photos from the blimp and even asked U.S. Open spectators to share their blimp sighting photos.
The sheriff’s office, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Bureau are investigating the crash.
Thursday is the opening day of the U.S. Open at Erin Hills, broadcast on Fox.