Hot Air Balloon Victim Texted Girlfriend as It Went Down

28-year-old victim sent text after she exited the balloon: 'This isn't going to be good, I love you'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2024 7:36 AM CST
Before Balloon Crash, a Text: 'He Knew He Was Going to Die'
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Oatfeelgood)

Kinsey Taylor was one of eight skydivers who made a successful jump out of a hot air balloon on Sunday morning before it crashed in the Arizona desert, killing four other people still in the balloon and critically injuring one. Taylor's boyfriend, Chayton Wiescholek, was one of those who died, and details are now emerging on the heartbreaking message she received from him once she'd landed after her skydive. "He texted her on the way down, saying, 'Goodbye, this isn't going to be good, I love you' and signed off," Gary Wiescholek, the 28-year-old victim's father, tells KTVU.

"He knew he was going to die," Chayton Wiescholek's mom, Rhonda Wiescholek, adds to FOX 17. Gary Wiescholek tells KTVU that when Taylor got the message, she immediately called her boyfriend's cellphone—but someone else picked up. That person told Taylor, "This is not good, you need to be here now," Gary Wiescholek says, adding that Taylor ripped off her harness and "ran 2 miles to get to him," though "officials wouldn't let her near him." Three others died along with Chayton Wiescholek, including the balloon pilot. A 23-year-old woman from Scottsdale who survived the crash remains in the hospital.

The Wiescholeks say they recently found out that their son and Taylor, his girlfriend of five years, were making plans to marry soon, perhaps within weeks. The couple from Union City, Michigan, had been vacationing in Arizona, per CBS 5. A fundraiser to help pay for Chayton Wiescholek's funeral had raised more than $12,000 as of Thursday morning. "There's not a whole bunch more you can say," Rhonda Wiescholek tells CBS. "You're just broken." An investigation by local police, the NTSB, and FAA on what caused the balloon crash in Eloy is ongoing, per People. (More hot air balloon stories.)

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