Pilot, Coach in Hot Air Balloon Crash Remembered

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Monday morning,Archbishop Ryan will honor an alumni who passed away over the weekend in a tragic hot air balloon accident. NBC10's Chris Cato reports on the passing of Philadelphia-area native Ginny Doyle. (Published Monday, May 12, 2014)

    A one-time star of Archbishop Ryan High School girl's basketball team and Philadelphia native was aboard a balloon involved in a tragic accident in Virginia Friday.

    Two Locals Aboard Balloon During Tragic Crash

    [PHI] Two Locals Aboard Balloon During Tragic Crash
    Two bodies have been recovered after a fatal balloon crash occurred near Fredericksburg, Va. Friday. The balloon's pilot, Daniel Kirk, is from central Delaware. Virginia "Ginny" Doyle, a Philly-native and Archbishop Ryan alum, was a passenger along with her University of Richmond collegue, Natalie Lewis. (Published Saturday, May 10, 2014)

    "I was really shocked when I heard it on the news," said Doyle's Feasterville neighbor Connie McGonigle. 

    Forty-four-year-old Virginia Doyle, University of Richmond's associate head women's basketball coach, graduated from Archbishop Ryan in 1987.

    Daniel Kirk, the 65-year-old Delaware man who piloted a hot air balloon that caught fire and crashed about 25 miles north of Richmond on Friday had decades of flying experience.

    The website of Daniel T. Kirk's company says he had more than 20 years' experience as a hot air balloon pilot and had flown in ballooning events throughout the country. The Starship Adventures website also said that Kirk had a commercial balloon pilot license issued by the Federal Aviation Administration.

    Kirk's father, Donald Kirk, confirmed that his son was the pilot of the doomed balloon.

    Fellow pilots said Daniel Kirk was known affectionately as "Capt. Kirk," the hammy commander of the USS Enterprise on the TV series Star Trek.

    "Good man, very good man," said Jay Metheny, a friend of Kirk who volunteered with the pilot at a local Methodist church.

    Metheny says he has no doubt that the retired military man did everything he could to try and prevent the accident.

    "He would've done it," he said. "There's no doubt in my mind that he would have done whatever needed to be done to save those two ladies."