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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Belarus Balloon Fallout

ALBANY, New York () -- Authorities in Belarus are to blame for the deaths of two Americans killed when their hydrogen balloon was shot down by a helicopter gunship during an international air race, the U.S. State Department says.

An international commission has determined that civil and military officials in the former Soviet state used poor judgment in downing the balloon Sept. 12, the State Department said in a report released late Tuesday.

"The report concludes that the tragedy results from a variety of factors, including failure on the part of Belarussian civil air authorities to comply fully with existing procedures for processing flight applications," acting State Department spokesman Glyn Davies told the Times Union of Albany.