Whether your loved one is killed in a traffic accident or another type of accident, you may have the right to file a civil suit.
Houston, TX- Authorities identified at least three Houston residents among the 16 killed in a fiery balloon crash in Central Texas last week. Now, the deadly crash is raising questions about the oversight of hot-air balloons.
The accident occurred Saturday, July 30, and killed all 16 people on board. Their investigation is ongoing, but the National Traffic Safety Board said preliminary results indicate that the balloon snagged power lines and erupted in a blaze, causing the basket to plummet to the ground.
All of the victims have been identified and authorities said three of those victims were from the Houston-area.
The pilot of the balloon, identified as Alfred G. “Skip” Nichols, was among those killed, but questions about him and the company began to surface. Reporters for the Houston Chronicle discovered that Nichols was charged with drunk driving in Missouri on four occasions in the past; the last was in 2010. Nichols also spent time behind bars, one time for a drug charge.
So, why was Nichols, who lost his driver’s license, allowed to pilot a hot-air balloon? That’s because there is little oversight of hot-air balloons and hot-air balloon operators. The Speaking to the Houston Chronicle, a former attorney for the Federal Aviation Administration said federal oversight of hot-air balloons is “essentially none.” There are no safety inspections nor are hot-air balloon companies are not required to obtain FAA operator’s license.
There is little oversight of hot air balloon pilots.
Airline captain and aviation safety consultant John Gadzinski told the Chronicle that the FAA would likely revoke the license or a pilot with a history of DUI convictions.
Pilots of hot-air balloons have to be licensed, but licensing standards are not as strict as they are for other commercial pilots. However, they are not required to undergo regular medical exams like other commercial pilots and only have to submit a statement verifying that they have no medical conditions that would make them ineligible to operate a balloon.
Two years ago after a balloon crash killed three people in Virginia, the NTSB urged the FAA to impose regulations on the hot-air balloon industry. That didn’t happen.
The accident on Saturday was the deadliest hot air balloon accident in the U.S. Whether it could have been avoided with better oversight of pilots and companies is a question that we can’t answer until the NTSB concludes their investigation.

An accident lawyer in Houston has the skills and knowledge to recover a generous settlement on your behalf.
Accidents like this are rare, but they serve as a reminder of how quickly a tragedy can occur. If a person is killed because of someone’s negligence, their surviving family members may be eligible for compensation for their loss. USAttorneys recommends anyone, who has lost a loved one in any type of accident where someone else was at fault, get legal advice immediately.
We have an experienced team of accident lawyers in Houston who will fight to make certain the party or parties responsible for your loved one’s death is held accountable. Their advice will help you get through this troubling time and set you on a course to recover maximum compensation for your loss.

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