Ex-girlfriend says pilot good, 'loved people' - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Ex-girlfriend says pilot good, 'loved people'

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Alfred “Skip” Nichols Alfred “Skip” Nichols

An ex-girlfriend of the hot air balloon pilot says that he was made for the job.

Wendy Bartch told the Austin American-Statesman that she used to date Skip Nichols and had assisted him with a Missouri-based balloon business.

"He was a good pilot and loved people," she said, adding that he'd been involved with hot air balloons for about two decades.

Bartch also said Nichols was cautious about keeping his passengers safe and that at least two vehicles would follow the balloon on the ground.

Federal investigators have not publicly identified the pilot or the company that operated the balloon, but roommate and co-worker Alan Lirette told The Associated Press that Nichols piloted the balloon that crashed Saturday, killing at least 16 people.

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