Home Indiana News UPDATE: Indiana woman, Michigan man among 4 hot air balloon crash victims

UPDATE: Indiana woman, Michigan man among 4 hot air balloon crash victims

Family members say Katie Bartrom, 28, died in a hot air balloon crash in Arizona on Sunday.(Courtesy of Jennifer Hubartt)


ELOY, Ariz. — An Indiana woman and a Michigan man are among four people who were killed in a tragic hot-air balloon crash on Sunday morning in Arizona.

According to our affiliate KPHO in Phoenix, the four victims of the crash were officially identified Monday afternoon. Previously, family members told KPHO that Katie Bartrom, 28, was one of them.

Bartrom is from Andrews, which is a small town in Huntington County. Her mother, Jennifer Hubartt, told KPHO that Katie recently became a registered nurse in Fort Wayne and loved cats, adventure, and traveling.

Skydiving was one of Bartram’s passions, and Hubartt says Katie went to Arizona this past weekend to go skydiving with some of her friends. Hubartt says her daughter did not jump and was a spectator who tragically died in the crash and passed away doing what she loved.

Bartrom leaves behind a twin sister, a younger brother and sister as well as her mother and stepfather.

Meanwhile, WNDU 16 News Now is learning that another one of the four victims is from our region. Chayton Wiescholek, 28, of Union City, Mich., was identified by police Monday afternoon.

The other two victims are Ataham Kiliccote, 24, from Cupertino, Calif., and Cornelius Van Der Walt, 37, from Eloy, Ariz. Van Der Walt was identified by police as the pilot of the hot air balloon. Another person, identified as 23-year-old Valerie Stutterheim of Scottsdale, Ariz., was injured in the crash and is currently in critical condition.

Authorities say that a Cameron Balloons A160 hot air balloon had lifted off with eight skydivers and five people on board who were not skydiving. Police say all skydivers jumped from the balloon and completed their planned skydiving event when, shortly after, something went wrong.

The crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the FAA, and the Eloy, Ariz., Police Department.

This is the deadliest balloon crash since 2021 when five people died following a balloon crash in Albuquerque, New Mexico.