Hot air balloon rides and other similar in-air recreation activities are a unique and thrilling experience for many participants. While these excursions provide the public with a special vantage point, there are inherent risks in participating in these activities. Texas hot air balloon accidents can pose many challenges to victims and their loved ones. The public is urging lawmakers to push for more protections for balloon riders. This push stems from the Federal Aviation Administration’s failure to implement regulatory changes following a devastating 2016 hot air balloon accident.
A recent investigative news report highlighted the frustration the Texas hot air balloon accident victims’ families are experiencing nearly five years after the accident. A woman lost her daughter and granddaughter in a hot air balloon accident in 2016. According to reports, the women were two of the 16 people who died when the hot air balloon flew into a power line. The hot air balloon pilot had reportedly taken a combination of various prescription medications before the flight. The woman is working with lawmakers on legislation that would require commercial balloon operators to take medical and physical exams before licensure. However, as the fifth anniversary of the accident passed, the Federal Aviation Administration is yet to implement any of the rules or regulations. However, even with oversight, hot air balloons continue to pose serious risks to operators and passengers. Recently, five people died in a New Mexico hot air balloon accident. The hot air balloon hit a power line and separated the balloon from the gondola where the passengers stand.
Despite regulations, hot air balloons continue to pose significant risks to passengers. There have been about 20 hot air balloon accidents every year and about 26 fatalities in the last twenty years. Although hot air balloon fatalities seem low, the statistics should be looked at relative to the number of people who ride these vessels. There are many reasons these accidents occur, and the majority involve some degree of negligence. The leading causes of hot air balloon accidents are: