Texas lawmakers seek hot-air balloon regulations after deadly crash

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HOUSTON (AP) The Federal Aviation Administration has not passed a new safety regulation that legislators say would fortify supervision of the hot-air balloon industry and help avoid fatal crashes similar to a Texas crash that killed 16 people almost three years ago.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the agency's indecision triggered Congressman Lloyd Doggett to send a letter to the FAA's acting administrator that asked what was causing the extended delay.

An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board found that balloon pilot Alfred "Skip" Nichols was as impaired as a drunk driver when he ignored weather warnings and flew the ride into a power line in the deadliest hot air balloon crash in U.S. history.

Nichols had taken a mixture of prescription medications such as Valium, Prozac and the painkiller oxycodone.