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Doggett Introduces Federal Legislation In Response To Lockhart Balloon Crash

Remains from the July 2016 balloon flight near Lockhart

An Austin congressman, whose district runs into parts of San Antonio, has offered up federal legislation to make hot-air balloon flights safer. It's a response to the balloon crash that killed 16 people near Lockhart in 2016.

The National Transportation and Safety Board's investigation discovered that the balloon pilot had drugs in his system, including Valium and oxycodone, a prescription opiate.

U.S. congressman Lloyd Doggett introduced an amendment to a Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Bill that aims to improve safety on all commercial balloon flights, including ensuring pilots' physical health.

“The NTSB found that the FAA’s refusal to require commercial balloon operators to obtain a medical certificate that they are suitable for flying contributed to this crash. My bipartisan amendment would end this exemption,” Doggett said.

The legislation with Doggett’s amendment is up for a vote this week.

Ryan Poppe can be reached atrpoppe@tpr.org or on Twitter@RyanPoppe1

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.