Local reaction to the deadly hot air balloon crash in Texas

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — New details have been released on the pilot operating the hot air balloon that crashed in Texas.

Reports showed that the pilot, Alfred Nichols, had four previous DUI convictions, but he was not required to submit to the FAA medical check.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, balloonists are not required to disclose alcohol related car offenses.

Sixteen people were killed Saturday morning when the hot air balloon hit power lines.

This is the deadliest hot air balloon crash in U.S. history. 

Here in San Diego, hot air balloon pilots are getting a lot of phone calls.

Most people are wondering about the safety of balloons in general.

The truth is, the hot air balloon business has a very good safety record.

Denny Barrett is a veteran balloon pilot. He runs a company called "Magical Adventure" out of Solana Beach.

Even though the tragedy happened in Texas, it’s having an impact all across the country.

After the crash, we learned that the federal government was considering tougher regulations for hot air balloons, but backed off years ago.

In the case of the pilot in Texas, he had a history of substance abuse, but friends said he was the model of recovery — clean and sober for years.

But was he qualified and certified to fly with 16 people?

When something so peaceful becomes so tragic, there’s an immediate emotional reaction.

Even though this was the worst hot air balloon accident in U.S. history, the overall track record is extremely safe. 

Categories: Local San Diego News