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What happened in the deadly Texas hot air balloon crash?

NTSB investigating what went wrong

A tragic hot air balloon accident in Texas has left 16-people dead after the craft collided with power lines. That according to the National Transportation Safety Board, which is currently investigating the cause of the catastrophic accident.

According to initial reports, a fire broke out on board the aircraft carrying 15 passengers and the pilot, all of whom perished in the crash. Authorities are unsure if the blaze was started before or after the balloon collided power lines near the town of Lockhart.

Aircraft accident investigations

As with all aircraft accidents, the NTSB will conduct an investigation into how and why exactly things happened. Federal authorities have already collected and are examining cell phones and other devices left by the deceased victims at the scene which may yield invaluable information about the final minutes of those aboard.

Additionally, an investigation into the background of the pilot and safety record of the company operating the aircraft will be performed. This aspect of the investigation will be extremely important since pilot error and mechanical malfunctions are two of the most easily preventable factors which can lead to an aircraft crash.

FAA rejects calls to regulate hot air balloon tours

In April 2014, the NTSB recommended the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) create stronger regulations for air tour balloons but was rebuffed by the FAA claiming hot air balloon travel was safe. Just one month after that request, three people died in Virginia after their hot air balloon went down.

Over the last 30 years, almost 70 people perished in hot air balloon accidents. Over 700 crashes were reported during that same time. The death toll in the latest hot air balloon accident is the worst ever in U.S. history.

Common factors in aircraft accidents

Mechanical failure can always be a possible cause for a catastrophic aircraft accident. When assessing the causes of a crash, maintenance records and inspection reports will be zeroed in on to determine if there was something fundamentally wrong with the aircraft.

Apart from pilot error and mechanical failure, weather is one of the most common factors in aircraft accidents, including hot air balloon crashes. According to reports from the Texas hot air balloon accident, the flight was delay about 20 minutes but it is still too early to tell if this played a part in the crash.

Features of hot air balloons

Hot air balloons are composed of only a few parts, utilizing hot air to lift the aircraft off the ground with no steering capabilities. Parts of hot air balloons include:

  • Propane fuel tanks
  • Burners
  • Gondola or “basket” where passengers ride
  • Balloon, known as an envelope

Washington, DC aviation accident lawyers

If you or your family suffered serious injury or the loss of a loved one in an aviation accident, the experienced Washington, DC aviation accident lawyers of The Cochran Firm, D.C. can help you examine your legal options. All too often, these types of crashes are caused by preventable circumstances which wrongdoers may be held accountable for.

Fill out an online contact form with the details of your case or call us during business hours at 202-682-5800 or at 1-800-THE FIRM (843-3476) to reach us 24 hours a day. There are time deadlines to filing aviation accident lawsuits so contact our office at your earliest convenience and preserve your legal rights.



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