Seven Texas hot-air balloon crash victims identified

Houston, Aug 4 (IANS) Seven victims of a hot-air balloon crash that killed 16 people in US’ Texas state have been identified.

The massive red-white-and-blue balloon with a smiling-face image caught fire and crashed on July 30 near Lockhart, Xinhua news agency reported.

The seven victims were identified as pilot Alfred Nichols; mother and daughter Lorilee and Paige Brabson of San Antonio; Matthew Rowan of San Antonio; Joe Owens of Katy; and Harvey and Laura Douglas, of Victoria, according to the website of the Houston Chronicle daily.

The other victims of the accident have not yet been officially identified.

The real cause of the accident is still unknown, but the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration have begun to investigate the crash and confirmed that the balloon hit a power line before it caught fire and crashed.

The 49-year-old pilot of the balloon was reportedly convicted of drunken driving at least four times in the US state of Missouri and twice spent time in prison.

The accident is among the deadliest of its kind in US history.

–IANS

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