Friday, June 22nd


A PenFed blimp deflated, burst into flames and crashed late Thursday morning near the U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

The damaged blimp falls to the ground near the U.S. Open at Erin Hills.(Photo: Associated Press)

Even now, a year later, memories of the crash come back to Trevor Thompson.

It was the morning of June 15, the opening round of the U.S. Open golf championship at Erin Hills and Thompson was in the sky around a mile east of the course, piloting an airship that advertised a credit union.

Suddenly, the airship was rocked by a catastrophic fabric failure. It began to deflate and then caught fire as it plunged some 500 feet to the ground.

"I remember the smoke inhalation, the heat, wondering how am I going to get out of this thing," Thompson said during a telephone interview from his home in Georgia.