NTSB Holding Hearing on Texas Balloon Accident

The July 30, 2016, crash in Lockhart, Texas, killed the pilot and 15 passengers. The board's Dec. 9 hearing will examine the circumstances of the accident and the larger issues involving the safety of hot-air ballooning, including commercial balloon operations, training and decision-making, regulation and oversight, and medical factors.

The National Transportation Safety Board will hold an investigative hearing Dec. 9 in Washington, D.C., to discuss the July 30, 2016, Lockhart, Texas, hot-air balloon crash in which the pilot and all 15 passengers died. The board's hearing will examine the circumstances of the accident and the larger issues involving the safety of hot-air ballooning, including commercial balloon operations, training and decision-making, regulation and oversight, and medical factors.

In a preliminary report released in August 2016, NTSB said the balloon struck high-voltage power lines and crashed into a field around 7:42 a.m. Investigators for the agency had said during a briefing in Lockhart that the pilot, Skip Nichols, was preparing to land when he hit the lines.

The hearing is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Eastern time and continue until 3:30 p.m.

NTSB Board Member Robert Sumwalt will lead the board of inquiry, and witnesses will include experts from the Federal Aviation Administration, the Balloon Federation of America, and Kubicek Balloons.

NTSB will offer a live webcast of the meeting; a link to the webcast will be available at http://ntsb.capitolconnection.org/ shortly before the start of the meeting.

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