Drugs, opioids in system of Lockhart hot air balloon pilot

Benadryl, sedatives, and opioids all were found in the system of a hot air balloon pilot who crashed in Lockhart last summer killing 16 people, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

SAN ANTONIO - Benadryl, sedatives and opioids all were found in the system of a hot air balloon pilot who crashed in Lockhart last summer killing 16 people, according to the National Transportation Safety Board

The organization wants to make medical certificates required for hot air balloon pilots that would include a background check. They say that the pilot, Skip Nichols, had at least three DUI convictions, three drug possession convictions, and had spent time in jail.

Lorille Brabson and her 23-year-old daughter, Paige Brabson, were among the 16 victims killed in the July 2016 hot air balloon crash. Brabson's mother and grandmother, Patricia Morgan, attended the NTSB hearing in Washington D.C. on Tuesday.

The NTSB found that poor decision-making by the pilot stemming from his medical conditions and use of medication caused the crash.

Hot air balloon pilots are not required to have a medical certificate. The NTSB has recommended that the Federal Aviation Authority change those rules.

"I'm determined to help do anything possible to change the law so that other pilots can't do what this pilot did. They need to have the proper certification and requirements that all operators have, and that's my goal once this happens, then I feel like I can have closure," Morgan said.

The NTSB also found that the pilot had been warned about poor weather conditions prior to launching and had multiple opportunities to land the balloon safely after he took off.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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