The U.S. House of Representatives approved a hot air balloon pilot safety amendment proposed by U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) Thursday, which was designed to prevent more tragedies similar to the fatal hot air balloon crash that killed 16 people near Lockhart in 2016.
The congressman's remarks on the House Floor can be viewed here:
“The FAA should have corrected this long ago," Doggett added. "Now with adoption of this amendment, I am hopeful that no other family will ever suffer the same horror as this tragedy near Lockhart.”
Doggett also spoke Wednesday on the House Floor. Those remarks can be viewed here:
2016’s hot air balloon crash was the deadliest aviation disaster since 2009, according to the congressman's office.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that the FAA’s refusal to require balloon operators to obtain a medical certificate contributed to the Caldwell County crash, according to a press release. Rep. Doggett’s approved amendment ends this exemption to ensure no more families risk injury or death from an impaired pilot.
According to the NTSB, there have been 124 balloon fatalities since 1964.
One of the deadliest hot air balloon crashes was in February 2013 when a hot air balloon flying over Luxor, Egypt caught fire and plunged 1,000 feet to the ground killing at least 19 foreign tourists, according to USA Today.
The following are some of the worst recreational hot air balloon crashes recorded, according to the AP:
- Feb. 26, 2013: A hot air balloon flying over Luxor, Egypt, caught fire and plunged 1,000 feet (300 meters) to the ground, crashing into a sugar cane field and killing at least 19 foreign tourists.
- Aug. 23, 2012: Six people died and 26 were injured when a hot air balloon carrying 32 people, mostly tourists including some children, caught fire and crashed near the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana.
- Jan. 07, 2012: A hot air balloon struck power lines near Carterton, New Zealand, and exploded, crashing to the ground. All 11 people on board were killed.
- Oct. 14, 2009: Four Dutch tourists were killed in Guangxi, China, after pilots lost control and their hot air balloon burst into flames and crashed.
- Aug. 26, 2001: Six people including a child were killed when their hot air balloon touched a power line at Verrens-Arvey, in southwestern France.
- June 17, 1999: Four passengers were killed when their hot air balloon hit a power line near Ibbenburen, Germany.
- Jan. 31, 1996: Five people died in the Bernese Alps, Switzerland, when their hot air balloon crashed into a mountainside at a height of 8,000 feet (2,400 meters).
- Aug. 8, 1993: Six people were killed when their balloon hit a power line near Aspen, Colorado, tearing off the basket and sending it plunging 100 feet (30 meters) to the ground.
- Dec. 11, 1990: Four people died near downtown Columbus, Ohio, after their hot air balloon hit a television tower and deflated.
- Oct. 6, 1990: Four people were killed in a balloon crash at Gaenserndorf, near Vienna.
- Aug. 13, 1989: Thirteen people were killed when their hot air balloon collided with another over the Australian outback near the town of Alice Springs. The two balloons were flying at an altitude of 2,000 feet (600 meters) when one plunged to the ground after the collision.
- Oct. 3, 1982: An explosion on board a hot air balloon carrying nine people at a festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico, killed four people and injured five.
- Aug. 6, 1981: Five people were killed and one seriously injured when a hot air balloon caught fire after touching electrical wires and crashed in a suburb of Chicago.
- 1785: Two Frenchmen attempting to cross the English Channel in a hot-air balloon were killed when their balloon caught fire and crashed, in possibly the first fatal aviation accident.