Feds mull tougher balloon pilot rules a year after Lockhart crash

July 2016 crash was worst hot air balloon disaster in US history

By PAUL J. WEBER, Associated Press
Copyright 2016 CNN

AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas lawmaker expects federal investigators to call for hot air balloon pilots to obtain medical certificates following a crash last year that killed 16 people.

The July 2016 crash in a pasture near Lockhart was the worst hot air balloon disaster in U.S. history.

The National Transportation Safety Board could recommend new safety regulations at a hearing Tuesday in Washington. Medical experts have said the pilot of the Texas balloon should have been grounded because of medical ailments and drug use.

Republican John Cyrier is a Texas lawmaker whose district includes the crash site. He thinks the NTSB will recommend that commercial hot air balloon pilots get the same medical screenings as those flying planes or helicopters.

The Federal Aviation Administration must ultimately approve any new oversight.

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