Texas Crash Reconsiders Hot Air Balloon’s Safety

August 15, 2016
Selina Chong Sunny Hills High School 11th Grade

Selina Chong
Sunny Hills High School 11th Grade

A hot air balloon ride which was supposedly a wedding gift to a San, Antonio Texas couple, instead turned into a horrific tragedy.

On Saturday, July 30, a Texas hot air balloon crash killed all 16 people who were on board, including 15 passengers and the pilot himself.

The hot air balloon, which came from the Heart of Texas Balloon Rides, hit some power lines which caught on fire and plunged straight toward the ground.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, Saturday’ s catastrophe is now the deadliest balloon crash in U.S. history. Previously, the country’ s most fatal hot air balloon accident occurred in 1993 which resulted in the deaths of six people. This makes hot air balloon deaths extremely rare. The National Transportation Safety Board states that between 1964 and 2013, there were only 67 casualties out of 760 hot air balloon accidents.

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Jeff Chatterson, a representative of the Balloon Federation of America, states that ballooning is meant to be safe since it is so simple.

There is neither landing gear or engine to fail, and no extremely harmful equipment exists on balloons. Instead, a hot air balloon is controlled by burners which heat the air inside the balloon.

This makes a hot air balloon less potentially dangerous and easier to use, compared to helicopters and planes.

However, if something like a power line emerges suddenly in a balloon’ s path, the pilot unfortunately does not have sufficient time to control the balloon, especially if it is weighed down by the pas- sengers.

This scenario haplessly occurred to the 15 passengers who were unaware of this possibility.

Now that this rare hot air balloon crash happened, it raises many safety questions. The hot air balloon which was known for its safety and simplicity, caused an unexpected and fatal accident.

To prevent these disastrous events from arising again, certain actions need to be taken. Hot air balloon operators should be more heavily regulated and the Federal Aviation Administration must tighten up their oversight on these operators.

Hot air ballooning which is known to be a fun and safe entertainment ended up in a horrific tragedy. Necessary changes need to be taken into action or who knows what other devastating events may occur in the future.

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