ERIN HILLS, Wisconsin (KRON) — The NTSB is blaming a blimp crash near the US Open on the airship’s outer fabric catching fire after collapsing around the blimp’s burners.
The blimp crashed Jun. 15 about a mile from Erin Hills in Wisconsin, where thousands of people were gathered for the golf championship.
However, the CEO of the company that owns the blimp suspects that something much more sinister happened.
“When we dig deeper into it and we look, there’s no way this should happen,” AirSign CEO Patrick Walsh said.
Walsh is open to the possibility his company’s blimp was shot down.
“Then, there was multiple events that pieced together definitely raised the question,” Walsh said. “We don’t necessarily believe in coincidences here.”
He says this 911 call could be the smoking gun.
“They just landed a great big blimp off the property next to me, and it’s scaring the living (expletive) out of my cattle,” the 911 caller said. “Can I shoot that son of a (expletive) down?”
“No, we’ll send a squad right over, OK?” the dispatcher said.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office interviewed the caller who said he had no intention to shoot the airship and made the comment because he was frustrated.
Walsh says that call combined with how the blimp crashed leaves him wanting answers.
But after the blimp burned up, he worries the evidence may be gone.
“At that point, you know, no longer was there a lot of physical evidence to work with,” Walsh said. “So anything that might specifically show bullet holes or a direct cause of the failure, there’s limited evidence for them to work with.”
The pilot told authorities that he heard a panel tear as he was trying to land. He said he tried to turn off the burners, but the part of the fabric collapsed and caught fire.
The pilot was treated for serious injuries.
No one on the ground was hurt.
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