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In the Nation


Balloon pilot was highly experienced

The Delaware man who piloted a hot air balloon that crashed about 25 miles north of Richmond on Friday, killing all three people on board, 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 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 and was killed in the crash. Two passengers, athletics officials from the University of Richmond, were also killed.

Daniel Kirk was known affectionately by fellow pilots as "Capt. Kirk," of Star Trek fame. - AP

Five die in wreck

Authorities in San Bernardino County say they have found a fifth victim inside a sedan that was crushed when a van landed on top of it. Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Jodi Miller said that once the van was removed from the car, emergency crews found the body of a male juvenile. The van smashed into the Honda as it was sitting at a stop sign just before 7 a.m. Sunday in Hesperia, a Mojave Desert town east of Los Angeles. - AP

Gay marriage appeal

The state's top lawyer will ask the Arkansas Supreme Court to review a lower court's decision to overturn a 2004 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced his intent to appeal to the high court late Saturday night, but not before 15 licenses were issued for same-sex couples in northwest Arkansas' Carroll County, heralding the arrival of gay marriage in the Bible Belt. - AP