Blimp Crashes After Catching Fire At U.S. Open

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(CBS) — A blimp caught fire and crashed to the ground near the U.S. Open golf tournament, injuring the pilot and causing an explosion on the ground.

AirSign, an advertising firm, was operating the blimp. Patrick Walsh, the company’s CEO, tells CBS News the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Jeff Alstadter, a spokesman for the U.S. Golf Association (USGA), said in a statement that the blimp crashed around 11:15 a.m. local time in an open field a half mile from the golf course.

Twitter users posted clips showing the blimp falling from the sky near the golf tournament, which is being held at Erin Hills Golf Course in Hartford, Wisconsin.

Walsh says the pilot was the only person on board the blimp. He suffered burns in the crash but was OK, Walsh said. There were no other injuries on the ground.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office responded to the crash, CBS affiliate WDJT-TV reports. WDJT reporter Julie Parise‏ was on the scene as a helicopter arrived to transport the pilot to a hospital.

PenFed Credit Union was the blimp’s sponsor for the tournament, which got underway Thursday.

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