The University of Richmond has confirmed to NBCSports.com that two occupants of a hot air balloon reportedly involved in a fiery crash Friday evening in Caroline County, Virginia were members of the school's women's basketball staff.
The two women have been identified as associate head coach Ginny Doyle and director of basketball operations Natalie Lewis. Virginia State Police have reportedly recovered two of the three bodies of those believed to be aboard the ballon at the time of its crash.
Police have not yet released the identities of the victims.
According to published reports, the balloon was carrying three people when it crashed into a utility line after taking off and burst into flames. The flames forced the ballon skyward and caused an explosion.
School president Edward L. Ayers released a statement on behalf of the university on Saturday.
“As alumnae, classmates, and colleagues – and as invaluable and devoted mentors for our student-athletes – Ginny and Natalie have been beloved members of ourcommunity,” said President Edward L. Ayers. “Their leadership and friendship will endure in the lives of so many.”
“Words cannot begin to express our sorrow,” said Keith Gill, director of athletics. “We are all stunned by the tragic news. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their loved ones.”
More details are available at NBCSports.com by clicking here.