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Pilot, co-pilot unhurt in ‘hard’ landing of balloon

Two participants in the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta ended up in the trees in Saucier on Thursday to avoid going over the Gulf of Mexico.

Pilot Phillip McKnight, 47, of Austin, and Brian Critelli, 46, of Webster, Texas, said they were in good spirits but ready to find a place to eat and sleep. They had been in the air for about 40 hours when they decided to make a “hard landing.”

The Harrison County Volunteer Fire Service came to their aid after their gas-powered balloon landed in trees in a remote area near Saucier. They were not hurt.