ERIN, Wis. — One person was injured after a blimp crashed into an open field and caught fire near Erin Hills Golf Course during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament on Thursday.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office told Fox 6 News that a Flight for Life helicopter was brought to the area to treat the pilot for unknown injuries.
The crash happened east of the golf course. Fire crews used a utility-type vehicle to access the crash site, Fox 6 News reported.
The blimp caught fire when it crashed followed by an explosion of propane tanks near the site.
Fire departments were able to quickly respond because they were staged at the U.S. Open.
The blimp was being operated by AirSign and was used to advertise for PenFed Credit Union.
AirSign CEO Patrick Walsk said there was a “catastrophic failure” of the air ship’s envelope, or the outer skin. It’s not sure why the failure happened.
“It’s a very unfortunate situation” and it’s something that “has never happened in their history,” Walsh said.
Walsh told Fox 6 the pilot, Trevor Thompson, is “the most sought after pilot to fly this type of blimp model.”
Walsh told the station that Thompson was able to climb out of the blimp and did not parachute out. He was not burned, Walsh said.
Thompson was taken to a hospital to be treated for nonlife-threatening injuries.
Several people on social media posted videos and photos showing the blimp falling out the sky, and smoke was seen in the sky over the course.