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Drug use 'should have grounded air balloon crash pilot'

The pilot of a hot air balloon that crashed in Texas, killing 16 people, had been prescribed numerous drugs that should have prevented him from flying, medical experts have said.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was told during a hearing on Friday that it appears Alfred "Skip" Nichols, who was among those killed, was using at least 10 different drugs at the time the balloon hit high-tension power lines before crashing on July 30 near Lockhart.

It is not clear whether the 49-year-old was impaired during the early morning flight. He was taking the drugs for various ailments.

A final NTSB report will be issued early next year.

Nichols had at least four convictions for drink-driving and had been in prison twice.

AP

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