Blimp goes down at US Open golf tournament in Wisconsin

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. Washington County sheriff's officials say the pilot suffered serious burns and injuries. He was taken to the hospital by air. The plane was involved in a "banner towing job", according to the NTSB, which cited the pilot's failure to maintain airspeed after takeoff as the reason for the crash.

It also said its initial investigation shows the blimp may have experienced mechanical problems before the crash.

According to a statement for the USGA, the blimp went down around 11:15 a.m.

The Federal Aviation and Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have been called to investigate the crash.

Justin Maynard, a sales manager for AirSign, said the company's operations team on the ground in Erin had no definitive information on the pilot's condition, other than the pilot was expected to be OK.

Sullivan said it's her understanding the pilot was able to crawl away from the burning wreckage.

Various media reports said the blimp deflated, started to come down slowly, burst into flames and crashed into a field near Highways 167 and 83.

A writer for the Cincinnati Enquirer said he witnessed the crash and the "pilot looked to have parachuted out". The person was transported away from the middle of a field in the back of a pickup truck and driven to a the parking lot of what appeared to be a warehouse in the middle of a vast field.

Golfer Brandt Snedeker said he spotted something while on the course at Erin Hills, about 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee. No other people were involved in the incident and local law enforcement is now investigating.

Gallo, who said the blimp landed near the treeline on her property, said that no one on the ground was hurt.

Check back for more details as this story develops.

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