Pilot hurt as blimp crashes at U.S. Open

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Pilot hurt as blimp crashes at U.S. Open

The United States Golf Association (USGA) confirmed the pilot of a blimp was injured on Thursday following a crash near Erin Hills, the venue for this week's U.S. Open.

As round one of the year's second major progressed, reports emerged of a blimp catching fire at the Wisconsin course, with spectators posting videos of the incident to social media.

In a statement, the USGA said: "According to local authorities, a commercial blimp not affiliated with the USGA or the U.S. Open Championship broadcast crashed in an open field approximately a half mile from the Erin Hills golf course at approximately 11:15 a.m. CDT.

"First responders were quick to arrive at the scene and the pilot is currently being treated for unknown injuries.

"No other people were involved in the incident and local law enforcement is currently investigating. Our thoughts and prayers are with the pilot at this time."


The pilot, identified by ESPN as Trevor Thompson, was reportedly pulled to safety by crew chief Matt Schmidt, who was the first to arrive at the crash scene and reacted swiftly before the blimp's propane tanks exploded.

Schmidt told ESPN: "I heard him [the pilot] calling out for help when I got there. He was able to get out of the gondola and he was probably five to 10 feet away from [the blimp] trying to crawl away.

"I asked him if he could move, and he said he couldn't get up and walk. I pulled him as far away as I could and as fast as I could. I got 50 feet away before the first tank exploded, and then I pulled him about another 60 feet away before the second one exploded."

The pilot's injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.

Jamie Lovemark, who shot a three-under 69 in round one, was playing the front nine when he looked up to see the blimp in flames.

"I was teeing off and I looked up and saw it on fire, and I felt sick to my stomach," said Lovemark. "I had the shakes. I felt terrible for the people inside. I didn't know what was going on. It was a horrible sight. I don't know what happened. I hope the guys got out okay."