An unprecedented event occurred as the U.S. Open was unfolding. The incident involved a small blimp that crashed, seriously injuring the pilot and grabbing the attention of fans and golfers alike as they watched the fiery, smoking craft fall from the sky into an open field.
Fortunately, the Sheriff's officials said the pilot was the only one on board the blimp. Speaking after his opening round, Jamie Lovemark said that he was teeing off when he looked up and saw the blimp on fire. Lovemark was one among any golfers and spectators who wondered in confusion as they witnessed the ill-fated crash.
One of the golfers, Brandt Snedeker said that he spotted something while on the course at Erin Hills, about 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee.
AirSign operates the blimp, which was being used for advertising as it floated above the tournament and had been airborne for several hours before it went down, authorities revealed. The Washington County Sheriff's Office said its initial investigation shows the blimp may have experienced mechanical problems. Rescue crews used utility vehicles to reach the crash site, about a half-mile from the golf course.
Some fans at the U.S. Open also posted a video on Twitter of the craft's descent. The sales manager for AirSign said the company's operations team on the ground in Erin had no definitive information on the pilot's condition, other than the pilot was expected to be OK. The injured pilot was taken to a medical helicopter that had landed in the field.
The Sheriff’s Office revealed that the FAA determined that the aircraft was flying at the right altitude. The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation and Administration have been called to investigate the crash.