ABILENE, TX (KRBC)- Brandi Moreno is mourning the loss of her close friend, Paige Brabson, 23, who was one of the 16 victims killed in what officials are calling the deadliest hot air balloon crash in U.S. history.

“I was heartbroken, sad,’ says Moreno.

Moreno says the two met while they were both attending Neecee’s College of Cosmetology.

“Just talking with her was the best thing,’ says Moreno.

Paige graduated in August of 2013 from Neecee’s and started work at Master Cuts on Buffalo Gap, then after, moved to Louisiana to follow her dreams and open her own hair salon.

“She enjoyed it, she was always changing her hair, helping everyone over there that needed the help,” says Moreno.


Moreno kept in touch with Paige often on social media.

On Saturday, Moreno watched her videos of the hot air balloon ride with her mother on Snapchat, hours later, Moreno learned the news of the crash.

“Well, I had texted her sister to see if they knew anything and her sister informed me she was involved in the accident,” says Moreno.


Paige had purchased the balloon ride as a late mother’s day gift.

“That’s what her mother wanted to do, she wanted to check that off her bucket list ,” says Moreno.

The family is now faced with burying two loved ones, Moreno explains. Paige, her mother and sister had a very close bond.

“It just breaks my heart for her because those were her best friends,” says Moreno.

Now, Paige’s 11-month-old daughter is left without a mother.

“I hope her baby grows up knowing how great of a person she was,” says Moreno.