Friday evening in Caroline County, Va. a hot-air balloon holding three passengers crashed into a power line, resulting in an explosion that according to multiple outlets has resulted in the death of the occupants. Saturday evening the University of Richmond confirmed that two of the occupants were women’s basketball staffers: associate head coach Ginny Doyle and director of basketball operations Natalie Lewis.
According to the school two of the three bodies have been recovered by the Virginia State Police, and the medical examiner’s office has yet to release the identities.
Doyle, who played at Richmond, has been a member of the coaching staff for the last sixteen years. Lewis, a 2011 Richmond alum who was a member of the swimming team while an undergraduate, has been a member of head coach Michael Shafer’s program since 2012. A hot-air balloon that held Shafer and his two daughters landed safely shortly before the crash of the hot-air balloon that Doyle and Lewis were in.
School president Edward L. Ayers and athletic director Keith Gill said the following in a statement released by the school:
“As alumnae, classmates, and colleagues – and as invaluable and devoted mentors for our student-athletes – Ginny and Natalie have been beloved members of ourcommunity,” said President Edward L. Ayers. “Their leadership and friendship will endure in the lives of so many.”
“Words cannot begin to express our sorrow,” said Keith Gill, director of athletics. “We are all stunned by the tragic news. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their loved ones.”