Hearing examines Lockhart air balloon crash that killed 16

One of the last photos taken of the hot air balloon before it crashed in a field near Lockhart. July 30, 2016. Sarita Gutierrez says she took the photo around 7:35 a.m., minutes before the crash. (Courtesy: Sarita Gutierrez)
One of the last photos taken of the hot air balloon before it crashed in a field near Lockhart. July 30, 2016. Sarita Gutierrez says she took the photo around 7:35 a.m., minutes before the crash. (Courtesy: Sarita Gutierrez)

LOCKHART, Texas (KXAN) — A hot air balloon ride took a deadly turn when it crashed killing everyone on board. 

Federal regulators in Washington D.C. want to take a closer look at the hot air balloon crash that killed 16 people near Lockhart this summer. The hot air balloon crashed after hitting high voltage power lines killing every single passenger including the pilot.

The National Transportation Safety Board announced that they will hold an investigative hearing on Dec. 9. The hearing will allow the NTSB to hear sworn testimony from witnesses about the accident.

The crash is now considered the worst of its kind in U.S. history.  A neighbor who saw the aftermath said hot air balloons are common in the area. “I had just stepped outside on the back porch… I heard one pop before I stepped out the door, then I heard another pop. And I’m looking around to see who’s shooting — because it sounded like a gun going off — and then I looked off over there and the next thing I knew you saw a big fireball go up,” Margaret Wylie said. “I called 911 and I waited until I saw the fire department go by.”

From 2002-2012, data from the NTSB shows 16 people died in hot air balloon crashes in the United States. Previously the most recent deadly Texas balloon crash was in Mesquite, Texas in August 1992.

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