Sep 20, 2013 11:11 PM by Erin Steuber

Women Finally Home After Surviving Hot Air Balloon Crash

Emotional moments as two Lafayette women, injured in a hot air balloon crash overseas, finally make it home. Both women say they're lucky to be alive.

"I'm very blessed, me and my family, that they're coming back alive and they're not coming back in caskets," said Christine's mother Kathleen Broussard.

One had just scratches, the other, severely broken feet. It all happened one week ago in Spain. The women were there on vacation, taking in the sights from the sky when something went very wrong. Because of the crash, there were medical challenges but also a challenge to get home, having to pay out-of-pocket for new flights. But that did not keep them from coming home.

It was a beautiful night for a hot air balloon ride. Best friends Karen Guidry and Christine Stelly were in Spain on vacation, never imagining it would end like this. Christine was fine, but Karen wasn't so lucky. Doctors performed emergency surgery to save both of her feet. Their families here in the states could do nothing but wait.

"We're a very close family so it'll be raw all over again once we finally get to put our eyes on them and hold them again," said Christine's sister, Liz Vincent.

It's a wait that came to an end Friday. The families glued to the window at Lafayette Regional. But after 10 hours of travel, Karen was all smiles as she came out on a stretcher. Christine was following close behind. And then the moment both families had been waiting for when they could finally rush up to hug them.

"I'm home. I may be a little broken up, but I'm home," said Karen.

"It's like the best feeling in the world. You don't miss it 'til it's gone. I never thought I was coming back. It's wonderful to be home," said Christine.

It was a long journey and life-changing experience for these friends of 40 years.

"We'll be forever joined together. We have a special bond before, but even more afterwards," said Christine.

Karen was taken to a hospital for evaluation. Doctors are hopeful she will walk again.



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