Newlyweds Among 16 Killed in Texas Balloon Crash

By Jim Liao, Epoch Times
July 31, 2016 6:29 pm Last Updated: July 31, 2016 6:30 pm

A newlywed couple was among the 16 victims claimed by a Texas hot air balloon crash on Saturday that is being called the worst in U.S. history.

The couple—Matt and Sunday Rowan—had just gotten married in February, Brent Jones, the father of Sunday Rowan’s five-year-old son, told CNN.

“Sunday was a very social person,” said Jones. “They have hundreds and hundreds of friends.”

Jones added that Sunday Rowan had intended for the balloon flight to be a birthday gift for her husband last year, though it had taken them some time to schedule the flight.

“It’s hard, but I want everyone to understand how great our lives were together and how amazing these two people are,” he says.

The Rowans were killed alongside Alfred “Skip” Nichols, another victim identified on Sunday.

“I knew him to be a safe, competent pilot,” fellow balloon pilot Philip Bryant told CNN. “He has done this for a very long time.”

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The balloon had caught fire and crashed at around 7:30 a.m. about 30 miles south of Austin on July 30. Authorities have since confirmed that all 16 members on board were killed, making it the worst incident of its kind in U.S. history.

An investigation conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board is ongoing.

Caldwell County Sheriff Daniel Law and the Texas Department of Public Safety said it will take “a long process” to identify all 16 victim, according to the Associated Press.