- 16 passengers died after a hot air balloon crashed in Texas, reportedly due to it hitting a power line
- NTSB would undergo further investigation that would help reveal additional circumstances that caused its crash
- Even though local authorities have yet to identify the victims, family members of the passengers already confirmed their deaths on social media
What was supposed to be a fun experience for the 16 passengers of a hot air balloon ride in Texas took a tragic turn as it crashed down on Saturday, July 30.
The incident was quickly dubbed to be the worst hot air balloon crash in the history of America after it erupted into flames and went down, leaving no survivors on its trail.
Although evidence states that the cause of the crash came from the vehicle hitting a power line, further investigation is still in the process. According to the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) officials, three factors were to be considered to identify other circumstances that have prompted the crash – namely human, machine, and environment.
NTSB intends to check any footage from devices recovered from the crash, and plans to inspect the balloon as well as the company behind its operations. They have also requested help from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to oversight hot air balloon tours for safety reasons as it requires a mile’s worth of visibility and sky clear of clouds to operate one.
Despite leading the investigation, NTSB says it is up to the local authorities to identify the passengers. Even though the latter noted how it would be a ‘long process,’ loved ones of those who died in the crash has already expressed their grief on social media.
Among those killed in the incident was the owner and pilot of the company Heart of Texas, Alfred ‘Skip’ Nichols. In his defense regarding safety measures, his ex-girlfriend Wendy Bartch clarified that Nichols was a man who cared about the security of his passengers, given his 20 years of experience.
Moreover, Philip Bryant, known for inspection and maintenance of equipment, reasoned that the balloon was new and had good equipment.
Included in the list of deceased were mother and daughter Lorilee and Paige Brabson, with the latter purchasing tickets as a Mother’s Day gift.
Another was recently wed couple Matt and Sunday Rowan whose deaths were confirmed by family members.
Tresa and Joe Owens, having just celebrated their 17 wedding anniversary, also passed away in the crash.
The balloon managed to fly for nearly eight miles before it went down. A power line was tripped a minute before a 911 call was made.