Michigan Mother Devastated After Son’s Tragic Death in Hot Air Balloon crash
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – A heartbreaking incident has left a Michigan mother shattered, as she received the devastating news that her son was killed in a hot air balloon crash in Eloy, Arizona. Rhonda Wiescholek, unable to bear the thought of leaving her son behind, immediately flew to Arizona to bring him home.
The incident took place early Sunday morning in Eloy, a city located in Pinal County, south of the Valley. According to the authorities, there were a total of 13 people on board the ill-fated hot air balloon. Eight skydivers safely jumped out of the balloon, but tragedy struck when something went wrong. Five people, including Rhonda’s son, 28-year-old Chayton Wiescholek, were still in the basket when it crashed. The other victims have been identified as Kaitlynn Bartrom, Atahan Kiliccote, and the pilot Cornelius van der Walt. Fortunately, Valerie Stutterheim from Scottsdale survived the crash, although she remains hospitalized.
Chayton Wiescholek resided in Union City, Michigan with his long-time girlfriend, Kinsey, and their cats. The couple was on vacation in Arizona when the accident occurred. Kinsey, an avid skydiver, was accompanied by Chayton, who was simply enjoying the experience. Rhonda, who had just checked on the cats, received the heartbreaking call from Kinsey, informing her of Chayton’s untimely demise.
Rhonda expressed her immense grief, saying, “There’s not a whole bunch more you can say. You’re just broken. He was just up in the balloon to be with her, and all the skydivers had jumped out of the balloon, and then something went wrong, and we still don’t know what.”
As a group of skydivers, including Kinsey, safely landed and witnessed the balloon crashing into the desert, Rhonda pleaded to see her son one last time. She shared that Chayton was a frequent visitor, helping out at the family farm, and cherished outdoor activities such as riding in his Jeep and camping. Above all, he adored being with Kinsey, and the couple had plans to get married. Amidst her sorrow, Rhonda finds solace in knowing that her son was happy with Kinsey.
Rhonda also revealed that Katie Bartrom, another victim of the crash, was Kinsey’s best friend, and both shared a love for skydiving. A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist with Chayton’s funeral expenses.
In this tragic incident, a mother’s world has been shattered by the loss of her beloved son. Rhonda Wiescholek’s determination to bring her son home showcases the indescribable love and bond between a mother and child.