The 2017 U.S. Open took a odd and terrifying turn during the first round on Thursday: A nearby blimp that had been circling the course throughout the early morning, crashed about half a mile from Erin Hills Golf Course 11:15 CDT.
The pilot-the sole occupant of the lighter-than-air vehicle-survived the crash, a spokesperson for the blimp's operator AirSign told The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal, but suffered some burns and needed to be airlifted from the crash site by Flight for Life in order to receive medical attention.
A blimp caught fire and crashed near the U.S. Open at Erin Hills Thursday morning during the first round of the championship golf tournament, injuring the pilot.
According to a National Transportation Safety Board database, AirSign aircraft have been involved in two incidents, both of them involving planes.
A woman who witnessed the crash of a small blimp near the Wisconsin golf course where the U.S. Open is underway says she saw flames as the aircraft deflated and floated to the ground.
Maynard said he had no more information on the pilot's status or what caused the accident.
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The US Open is classically the most hard of golf's four big prizes, so to be on -7 after day one is nearly unheard of. I didn't know what was going on. Crash scene is about 1 mile SE of Erin Hills.
"I was teeing off and I looked up and saw it on fire, and I felt sick to my stomach".
Here's a photo of the blimp right before the crash.
Patrick Walsh, the CEO of advertising firm AirSign, the firm that was using the blimp, told ESPN the pilot's name is Trevor Thompson. I didn't see it explode, but it definitely was just happened when he tapped me on the shoulder. The pilot was the only person inside at the time and is being treated for unknown injuries, the the U.S. Open said.
The pilot remained with the blimp as it slowly descended to the ground.