• By: Graham Sutliff
  • Published: August 2016

Texas Hot Air Balloon Crash Calls Federal Regulations into Question


Map showing the location of the hot air balloon crash south of Austin.

Austin, Texas – The deadliest hot air balloon accident in the history of the United States has observers questioning whether there should be more regulatory oversight of the industry, according to a report published by USA today.

The crash, which took place in Central Texas on July 30th, killed all 16 people on board and caught fire after coming into contact with power lines, according to the results of a preliminary investigation.

NTSB Letter Pointed Out Issues with Hot Air Balloon Regulation

The regulatory agency responsible for commercial hot air balloon oversight, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), has come under scrutiny regarding this incident after a 2014 letter from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) surfaced which called upon the agency to impose stricter regulations on the industry.

According to reports, the proposed regulations would have created a commercial database of commercial hot air balloon users, which critics point out probably would not have averted this disaster.

Nonetheless, the letter pointed out that balloon operators are not subject to the same requirements as commercial helicopter or airplane pilots, including maintaining a letter of authorization, which requires surveillance flights on a periodic basis to ensure that the operator is conducting flights safely.

Legal claims resulting from the central Texas hot air balloon accident

People who have lost loved ones in this accident or similar tragedies may be able to file a wrongful death claim in Texas court in order to recover for their losses.

About the Author

Graham Sutliff is a founding partner at Sutliff & Stout, Injury & Accident Law Firm. Graham earned his doctor of jurisprudence from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 2004, graduating top of class, summa cum laude. He was recognized by SuperLawyers as a Rising Star from 2012-2018 in addition to being named to the The National Trial Lawyers top 40 Under 40 in 2014 and 2015. He has earned a Superb rating by Avvo, and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To learn more, read Graham's complete bio here.

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