Deadliest US Hot air balloon on fire.Hot Air Balloon Crash
A tragic hot air balloon crash killed 16 people on board in central Texas on Saturday morning.
CNN reports says the balloon caught fire in the air and crashed in pastureland near Lockhart, about 30 miles south of the state capital of Austin. Many speculated the balloon may have hit power lines before it caught fire.
The tragedy is the deadliest hot air balloon crash ever in the US.
Nobody On board Survived
Texas investigators said nobody on board survived the fatal crash. In addition, investigations are underway to determine the cause of the crash.
Witnesses say the hot air balloon may have collided with power lines before it became a ball of fire.
Authorities have not yet revealed the names of the people on board.
Investigation is Underway
A BBC report says the National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation.
According to Erik Grosof, an NTSB official at the scene, said that there had been “a number of fatalities.” This means either they do not yet know the exact number or they are not releasing the number.
The balloon was believed to be owned by the Heart of Texas Balloon Rides. It is an Austin-based company popular for its operations offering hot air balloon rides to see the sunrise with champagne.
NTSB has called for strict regulations on the operation of hot air balloons. In fact, two years ago NTSB called for regulations for hot air balloon operators to follow policies like those of tour planes and helicopters.
Governor Greg Abbott asked in a statement that “all of Texas to join us in praying for those lost.”
CNN interviewed Philip Bryant, a balloon pilot to gather insights on hot balloon crashes.
Bryant told CNN he knew the pilot of the balloon that crashed.
“I knew him to be a safe, competent pilot,” Bryant said. “He has done this for a very long time.”
He added, “I don’t know what would distract a pilot from seeing what was in front of him, but in this case that’s apparently what happened.”