A blimp covering the start of the 2017 U.S. Open from above caught fire and crashed, per Stephen Watson of WISN 12 News.
According to the official U.S. Open account, the pilot was injured but first responders were at the scene. Shortly after the reports came in, emergency personnel were tending to someone on the ground in a field east of the golf course, aerial footage from CNN affiliate WTMJ showed.
CNN’s Dan Moriarty provided a statement from USGA:
"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."
Multiple Twitter users captured the blimp's descent to the ground:
madison seigworth @msiggyy
Just got to the #USOpen and the blimp caught fire and crashed. People parachuted out. https://t.co/1lDi3VkXCu2017-6-15 16:19:26
Adam Johnson @Coach_Guy_AJ
Pretty sure I just watched the blimp crash at the #USOPEN! Hope everybody is ok! https://t.co/OSOCSBF46p2017-6-15 16:21:11
Golf.com provided footage of the blimp exploding:
WTMJ provided a statement from the Washington County Sheriff's Office (via CNN):
"The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the crash.
The pilot, the only occupant of the aircraft, sustained serious injuries as a result of the crash and was medically transported via Flight for Life with serious burns and injuries.
The initial investigation reveals the blimp may have experienced mechanical problems prior to the crash."
Thursday featured the first round of the major championship in Erin Hills, Wisconsin.
Mike Hall of Big Ten Network described the event:
Update: USGA releases statement, says blimp that crashed is unaffiliated with the #USOpen - https://t.co/AMbVMsMm5M (🎥: @FOXSports) https://t.co/GcUGHAO3hI2017-6-15 17:32:35