ERIN, Wisc. - A PenFed blimp deflated, burst into flames and crashed late Thursday morning near the U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

The blimp went down about 11:20 a.m. near Highway 83 and Highway 167.

One witness tweeted that the pilot appeared to have parachuted to safety. Rescue crews from a variety of area fire departments and Flight for Life were responding to the scene.

"It started deflating, and then it started going down," said Bryan Rosine.

"They were trying to give it some throttle and it didn't go up," he said. "Then there was a bunch of kabooms and smoke clouds."

Another witness, Tim Guetzke, said "the side started deflating. One side was going in. As it headed toward the ground, it caught fire."

The sign on the blimp advertised PenFed Credit Union. Earlier Thursday morning, AirSign, a national aerial advertising firm, tweeted about the blimp's arrival and encouraged visitors to share photos.