WJTV News Channel 12 - Gov. McAuliffe speaks about hot air balloon accident for first t

Gov. McAuliffe speaks about hot air balloon accident for first time

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe addressed the media Monday in Richmond, Virginia, for the first time on this weekend's hot air balloon crash.

The balloon, taking part in the Mid-Atlantic Ballooning Festival in Doswell, was coming in for a landing on the night of May 9th when it hit power lines and burst into flames. Pilot Daniel Kirk, University of Richmond Associate Head Women's Basketball Coach Ginny Doyle, and University of Richmond's Director of Basketball Operations Natalie Lewis were killed.

During a press conference called for an unrelated purpose, McAuliffe noted that the power line struck by the hot air balloon may not have been on the map the pilot had.

"On behalf of all of us in the commonwealth of Virginia our hearts and prayers go out to the families who are affected over the weekend by this terrible, terrible tragedy," says Governor Terry McAuliffe (D).

Aviation experts say FAA will look at things like this during their investigation.

While this accident was the first major crash of its kind in the U.S. since 1993, there have been five fatal balloon crashes in the past 12 years. All five deaths in those cases came following collisions into trees, power lines and buildings.

Federal safety officials have recently suggested additional safety systems and design changes. The NTSB says the increased regulation they want for commercial hot air balloons will save lives. They've asked the FAA to respond and take action by July.

 

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