Relative of Lockhart hot air balloon crash victims creates petition

CALDWELL COUNTY, TEXAS - Pat Morgan, the mother and grandmother of two of the victims in the 2016 Lockhart hot air balloon crash that killed a total of 16 people, has created a petition to call for more government regulation of hot air balloon tours.

The petition, which was created on May 17, is asking the federal government to call on Congress to tighten and strengthen safety regulation and oversight of "tour" hot air balloon pilots and operations. Since the crash that happened on July 30, 2016, it has been revealed that the pilot knew before taking off that weather conditions were dangerous. This was revealed at a hearing with National Transportation Safety Board officials.

Officials also found through the investigation that prescription drugs were in Nichols' system at the time of the crash.

“The pilot … had a record of multiple medical and psychiatric conditions as well as multiple prescription medication which were detected in toxicology,” said Bill English, the Hearing Officer. They added that there is no law requiring medical clearance for hot air balloon pilots.

An autopsy report released by Caldwell County stated Nichols had Ritalin, oxycodone, diazepam (Valium), cyclobenzaprine (muscle relaxant), dextromethorphan (cough syrup) and antihistamines in his blood at the time of the crash.

Now Morgan, the mother of Paige Brabson, 23, and the grandmother of Lorilee Brabson, 48 -- who were both killed in the crash -- has created the petition. As of June 8, the petition has only 900 signatures of the 100,000 needed in order to get a response from the White House on June 16.

Go here for KVUE's full coverage of the crash.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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