Hot air balloon crash: 16 killed as balloon crashes into power lines in Texas – TomoNews

KYLE, TEXAS — A hot air balloon that crashed in Texas on Saturday, killing all 16 people on board, likely hit power lines before it fell to the ground, according to federal investigators.

The crash is being reported as the deadliest hot air balloon accident in U.S. history.

The pilot was named in the media as Alfred “Skip” Nichols from Texas. Friends described Nichols as a safe and competent pilot, who had been flying for a long time, according to CNN. Nichols is listed on Facebook as an owner and the chief pilot of Heart of Texas Hot Air Balloon Rides.

The names of the passengers have yet to be released, but friends identified newlyweds Matt and Sunday Rowan as being among the victims.

Sunday Rowan booked the flight as a birthday present for her husband. The couple had been married for just six months, according to CNN.

Investigators said the weather report showed a 500-foot flight ceiling, which was the maximum altitude a hot air balloon was allowed to safely fly.

It was foggy in the area after the accident and authorities suspect weather may have been a contributing factor to the crash.

Investigators recovered 14 electronic devices, including cellphones and an iPad, from the crash site 30 miles south of Austin. They hope videos filmed by passengers can help establish the cause of the accident.
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