Pilot of Crashed Hot Air Balloon had Prescription Drugs in System

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The pilot of a hot air balloon that crashed in Texas this summer, killing everyone onboard the balloon, had a number of prescription drugs in his system at the time of the crash, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. The accident, which occurred in July of last year, killed 16 people. The balloon crashed after hitting high-voltage power lines. It was the deadliest hot air balloon crash in U.S. history.

According to the pilot’s toxicology reports, he had a number of prescription drugs in his system at the time of the accident, including Valium and oxycodone. Both of those drugs can very significantly depress the central nervous system. They can also cause drowsiness, inhibit decision-making, and interfere with the ability to operate a motor vehicle. The pilot of the balloon had a history of drunk driving and he was investigated in 2013. The FAA says that it has no plans to change regulations as a result of the deadly crash. Currently, balloon pilots are not required to have an FAA medical certificate, which requires disclosure of drunk driving incidents.

In addition to the prescription drugs in the pilot’s system, the cloud ceiling was low at the time the balloon lifted off. Several balloon pilots who testified said they would not have flown in such weather conditions, and would not have been anywhere near power lines.

This tragic accident serves as a reminder how important it is that businesses thoroughly investigate their employees before hiring them, particularly in fields that could pose a danger to the public. If you have been harmed in an accident because of the negligence of a business, call the Houston personal injury attorneys at Kennedy Hodges. We can help. Call us today at 855-947-0707, or visit us on Facebook.

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