Report: Missed opportunities led to 2016 Texas balloon crash

The hot air balloon involved in a deadly crash near Lockhart on July 30, 2016, seen in a November 2014 photo. (Courtesy: Gaylynn Djafarzade)
The hot air balloon involved in a deadly crash near Lockhart on July 30, 2016, seen in a November 2014 photo. (Courtesy: Gaylynn Djafarzade)

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — An investigation by the San Antonio Express-News has found that U.S. regulators ignored expert warnings that hot-air balloons like one that crashed in July in Texas, killing 16 people, have higher accident rates than other aircraft and similar fatality rates.

The newspaper said its review of government documents and internal emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and testimony given at a federal hearing show a “bleak picture of missed opportunities.” The Express-News conducted a five-month investigation of the crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration doesn’t require balloon pilots to take drug tests or undergo medical evaluations like other pilots. It instead relies on an honor system that the pilot of the doomed balloon, Alfred “Skip” Nichols, foiled.

Nichols obtained his balloon pilot’s license in Missouri in 1996.

KXAN.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s