In his final moments, Chayton Wiescholek texted his girlfriend to say goodbye and tell her that he loved her, according to his family
One of the four people killed in a hot air balloon crash in Arizona on Sunday texted his girlfriend to say "goodbye" moments before the deadly accident.
Chayton Wiescholek, 28, and his girlfriend Kinsey Taylor were among the 13 people on the balloon that day, the Eloy Police Department said. Taylor was one of 8 people who took part in "a planned skydiving event" that occurred before "any issue with the balloon became apparent," the department added Tuesday.
Chayton's dad, Gary Wiescholek, told Fox affiliate KTVU that his son texted Taylor as she was on her way down to the ground, writing: "'Goodbye, this isn't going to be good, I love you.'" Once she landed, she called him after reading the message, per the report.
"Somebody else answered his phone and said, ‘This is not good, you need to be here now,’" he told the outlet.
"He knew he was going to die," Chayton's mom, Rhonda, told Fox affiliate WXMI.
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Kaitlynn Bartrom, 28, of Andrews, Indiana; Atahan Kiliccote, 24, of Cupertino, California; and the pilot, Cornelius Van Der Walt, 37, of Eloy, were also killed in the crash, according to police.
Authorities said Monday that Valerie Stutterheim, 23, of Scottsdale, Arizona, was listed in critical condition.
While it's unclear what caused the crash, preliminary information from officials said there was an "unspecified problem" with the balloon's envelope, WXMI reported.
Police are working with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to investigate.
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to support Chayton's family.
"Never in a million years, did I think that our family would get this news. This accident was very clearly a devastation, and there’s no way our family and friends could have prepared our hearts for this tragedy," the organizer wrote in a message.
"We want to continue to remember Chayton, as the life of the party, the adventure seeker, and solid voice of reason. For most, when we sit and reminisce on our fondest memories with Chayton we smile because that’s what he did, lit everything and everyone up with him," the organizer added. "We truly appreciate you all as we come together to remember him and the impact he had on us all."
As of Wednesday morning, nearly $10,000 has been raised.
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