Letters Families speak out on NTSB ruling


To the Editor:

The NTSB has done an excellent job of reporting on how this crash took place from lift off to crash, and killing 15 passengers. NTSB along with others have expressed going forward, how we need new laws covering the hot air balloon industry I totally support these changes, however there is one change that I don’t hear much about. The owners, and or the pilots are not adequately insured to operate a commercial or pleasure hot air balloon company.

Mr. Nichols was a good example of someone being underinsured and had the responsibility of his passengers. The results of his decisions ended with the death of all 15 on board.

In the event there are new regulations put in place, to better control the pilots and this industry, how can we trust the FAA to enforce the new regulation, since there seemed to be “nobody home at the FAA,” which allowed this accident to happen in the first place. Had the FAA enforced the current regulations and laws, this accident would not have happened.

It’s for these reasons that the FAA has a responsibility, along with Mr. Nichols, to be held accountable for the July 30, 2016 accident and the death of 15 passengers.

Jan and I don’t have the words to express how we feel toward the people at NTSB and Caldwell County for showing and sharing your love and compassion to us. You picked us up in our lowest valley in our journey of life and loved us to the highest mountain. Today, we thank God for you crossing our path of life. We need your continued prayers, love and support. You will always be in our thoughts and prayers. We visit the crash site quite often.

Our son was 47 years old, I was there when he breathed his first breath of air on this earth; as long as I am able, we will visit the location where he took his last.

God Bless you all, love you much.

Harvey and Jan Douglas

Rockport, Texas

(Harvey and Jan are the parents of Scott Douglas, of Victoria, and in-laws of Laura Douglas, who were among the 15 passengers of the ill-fated Heart of Texas Balloon Tours crash on July 30, 2016)


To the Editor:

Families and friends, I am requesting help if you can.

Tuesday (Oct. 17, 2017) was an emotional day for all of us, hearing the final results of the accident. We were able to attend and were pleased with the NTSB and all the investigation.

Unfortunately, all this can never replace our grief and the forever lasting heartbreak of losing our loved ones.

NTSB board Chairman Robert Sumwalt criticized the FAA for “shirking its responsibility” to protect balloon passengers. “They are abdicating their responsibility to provide oversight,” Sumwalt said.

The Board deemed Pilot Error was the probable cause. This pilot should have been grounded long before this accident, as we all know.

Family and friends, we have much work to do and we need your support.

We have been working with Senator Ted Cruz and staff to make changes. The Reauthorization Bill needs to be amended to include this Bill “Commercial Pilot Safety Act S1394” (created by Cruz) to impose certifications and stricter restrictions for Balloon pilots. We need an Act of Congress to make this amendment possible.

I will continue to advocate for changes, but need your help.

Contact your State Representatives, share with others so all State Representatives know we are serious and demand that changes be mandated. They will be voting in March of 2018.

More voices mean more power. We must become a united front and fight for our loved ones.

This accident impacted so many lives, and The FAA is not taking this seriously, which is unacceptable. FAA hopes this all will go away, and in time all be forgotten.

We cannot allow our loved ones to have died in vain. We will not forget. It is time for change! I appreciate those of you that can help. Thank you all,

Patricia Morgan

Brownsville, Texas

(Patricia is the mother of Lorilee Brabson, and grandmother of Paige Brabson, who were among the 15 passengers of the ill-fated Heart of Texas Balloon Tours crash on July 30, 2016)


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