National Transportation Board Says Texas Hot Air Balloon Likely Hit Power Lines Before Crash

NTB says the hot air balloon likely hit power lines before crashing to the ground killing all aboard in Texas.

According to NBC News and other news outlets, the hot air balloon that crashed in Texas over the weekend killing all 16 people aboard likely hit power lines before the crash. The NTSB is trying to determine exactly what happened that caused the worst hot air balloon accident and fatalities in US history. Personally, I just have never really heard, not would I ever get into a balloon that contained 16 people.

A hot air balloon that crashed in Texas, killing all 16 people on board, likely hit power lines before it plummeted to the ground, the National Transportation Board said Sunday.

A fire broke out on the balloon but it was not clear whether this happened before or after it hit the electrical wires near the town of Lockhart on Saturday, NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt said.

The balloon’s material was discovered about three-quarters of a mile from the basket, where all of the victims’ bodies were also found, Sumwalt added. The balloon had traveled about 8 miles before falling to the pasture below, he said.

“We’re looking at operation of balloon, pilot, and company that operated the balloon,” Sumwalt said, identifying the operating company as Heart of Texas Hot Air Balloon Rides.

He said the pilot — Skip Nichols — was certified to fly hot air balloons, and the NTSB would be looking at the company’s inspection records.

Nichols was named in a statement from his company, Heart of Texas Hot Air Balloon Rides. The status of his Facebook page was also switched to “remembering,” which the social network activates for users who have died.

Heart of Texas Hot Air Balloon Rides has a Better Business Bureau rating of D+ and a Yelp rating of 1.5 stars, mostly due to complaints about canceled and rescheduled flights.

Hot Air Balloon Carrying 16 People Crashes in Lockhart, Texas … There Are No Survivors

TERRIBLE …

A hot air balloon carrying at least 16 people caught fire and crashed in a field in central Texas, IN Lockhart, Saturday morning. According to reports, there were no survivors.  The Associated Press stated that the balloon was operated by Heart of Texas Hot Air Balloon Rides, which is based in New Braunfels, outside of San Antonio.

A hot air balloon carrying at least 16 people caught fire and crashed in a field in central Texas Saturday morning, officials said, adding that there were no survivors.

Officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety told the Austin American-Statesman newspaper that 16 people were killed when the balloon crashed in Lockhart, about 30 miles south of Austin.

However, federal investigators would not confirm the exact number of deaths. Erik Grosof of the National Transportation Safety Board would only say that there were “a number of fatalities.”

Caldwell County Sheriff Daniel C. Law told The Associated Press that it’s the kind of situation where people can walk up and buy a ticket, unlike an airplane, which would have a list of names.

Late Saturday, two officials told the Associated Press that the balloon was operated by Heart of Texas Hot Air Balloon Rides, which is based in New Braunfels, outside of San Antonio. Local media outlets identified the pilot as Skip Nichols, who owned the business and was believed to be in his late-40s.

On a personal note, my hearts and prayers go out to those lost and their families, but I also have to ask the question … 16 people aboard a hot air balloon? I have honestly never heard of so many people aboard a balloon at one time. Could there have been too much weight on board that made it impossible for the balloon to ascend high enough to avoid the high tension lines?

UPDATE I: Newlyweds, a preschool teacher, a young mother among the 16 dead in worst hot air balloon crash in US history.

The newlyweds of just six months boarded the big, rectangular basket early Saturday morning, anticipating a hot air balloon ride that would float them high over the pasture lands of rural Lockhart, Texas, just as the sun peaked above the horizon.

It was a birthday present from her to him, according to reports, one Matt and Sunday Rowan, both 34, had had a hard time scheduling.

Saturday finally fit.

The couple met the Heart of Texas Hot Air Balloon Rides pilot and 13 other passengers in a Walmart parking lot at 5:45 a.m., officials said, then traveled to an airpark for their 6:45 a.m. departure. The crew was delayed by about 20 minutes.

Soon they took off, dangling below a red, white and blue balloon, large yellow faces smiling out from the design.

UPDATE II: Texas Hot Air Balloon Likely Hit Power Lines Before Crash.

 A hot air balloon that crashed in Texas, killing all 16 people on board, likely hit power lines before it plummeted to the ground, the National Transportation Board said Sunday.

A fire broke out on the balloon but it was not clear whether this happened before or after it hit the electrical wires near the town of Lockhart on Saturday, NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt said.

Investigators have gathered 14 of the victims’ recording devices — including cellphones, cameras and an iPad — and hope to piece together what happened. Sumwalt asked that any witnesses also turn over any videos or pictures they may have taken before the crash.

Heart of Texas Hot Air Balloon Rides has a Better Business Bureau rating of D+ and a Yelp rating of 1.5 stars, mostly due to complaints about canceled and rescheduled flights.

The type of balloon that crashed Saturday has been involved in at least one other accident since 2011, according to the NTSB’s Sumwalt.

Blue Angels Plane Crash in Smyrna, TN … Pilot Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss Killed

Sadly, Blue Angles pilot dies in plane crash …

A pilot was killed after a U.S. Navy Blue Angels jet crashed Thursday afternoon in Smyrna, TN ahead of the Great Tennessee Airshow this weekend (VIDEO). The F/A-18 Hornet crashed at 3 p.m. behind the Sam Davis Home, about 2 miles from the runway. The pilot was identified as 32 year old Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss. According to the Blue Angels, Capt. Kuss is a native of Durango, Colorado. He joined the Blue Angels in September 2014 and has accumulated more than 1,400 flight hours and 175 carrier-arrested landings. Our condolences to his family and friends. God bless and rest in peace. Last night there was a vigil for Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss.

Six elite military jets of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight team roared over Middle Tennessee on Thursday, but the cheers from fans on the ground in just hours turned to wails.

“Oh no, no, no, God bless his soul.”

Pilot Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss was killed Thursday when his jet crashed at 3:01 p.m. just off Smyrna Airport, a U.S. official told the Associated Press. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Kuss and five of his colleagues in matching blue jets were in the air practicing for the Great Tennessee Airshow this weekend.

The fatal crash was the first in nearly a decade involving the Navy’s acrobatic performance jets, whose flights are meant to showcase pride in the military. Local and federal investigators rushed to the scene looking for the cause. The community mourned the 32-year-old pilot, husband and father of two.

EgyptAir Flight 804 Vanishes From Radar with 66 People Aboard … Terrorism or Mechanical Failure? (Update: Plane “Swerved and then Plunged”)

EgyptAir Flight 804 vanished from radar.

CNN is reporting that EgyptAir Flight 804 vanished from radar on its way from Paris to Cairo with 66 people aboard. There were 56 passengers, including one child two babies and 10 crew members. The plane disappeared from radar about 10 miles after entering Egyptian airspace. Search teams have been sent to last recorded location of the plane about 30-40 miles north of Egtpt’s coast. According to reports, weather conditions were clear and calm when the plane crossed over the Mediterranean Sea.

EgyptAir Flight 804 vanished from radar on its way from Paris to Cairo with 66 people aboard, the airline said Thursday.

The plane was flying at 37,000 feet when it lost contact overnight above the Mediterranean Sea, the airline tweeted. French President Francois Hollande said he had been told the flight crashed.

It’s too early in the investigation to say for sure what caused the disaster, and at this point experts say anything from mechanical failure to the terrorism is a possibility.

UPDATE I: Greece’s defense minister says, the plane “swerved and then plunged.”

A distress signal was detected in the general vicinity where the flight disappeared, said Capt. Ahmed Adel, a vice chairman at EgyptAir. The signal was detected at 4:26 a.m. — about 2 hours after the jet vanished, he said. Adel said the distress signal could have come from another vessel in the Mediterranean. But the Egyptian armed forces stressed that they had not received a distress call. There’s no confirmed information on the status of the missing plane, Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said.

The EgyptAir flight “swerved and then plunged” before its descent into the Mediterranean, the Greek Defense Minister said during a news conference.

“At 3:37am local time, immediately after the aircraft entered Cairo airspace at 37,000 feet, the aircraft swerved 90 degrees left and then 360 degrees to the right and descended from 37,000 feet to 15,000 feet and then 10,000 feet, when we lost the signal,” Panos Kammenos told reporters in Athens.

UPDATE II: French President Says, Egyptair Jet From Paris to Cairo Crashed.

French President Francois Hollande told a press conference that the plane had crashed, but said it was too soon to speculate as to the cause.

“No hypothesis can be ruled out,” he said.

Egyptian and Greek authorities are searching for the plane, which was flying at an altitude of nearly 37,000 feet when it disappeared from radar shortly before it was due to land.

Almost immediately after entering Egyptian airspace the plane swerved sharply and then lost altitude before it dropped off radar, Greece’s Defense Minister Panos Kammenos told a press conference.

When the plane vanished it was about 175 miles away from Egypt’s coast, according to officials. [...]

Airbus — the maker of the plane — said in a statement that it regretted to confirm that “an A320 operated by Egyptair was lost” over the Mediterranean Sea.

French and Egyptian officials stressed they were closely cooperating to determine what caused the crash. Radar showed no adverse weather in the area at the time of the jet’s disappearance.

Egyptian and Greek authorities were focusing search efforts in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Greek military confirmed that one of its frigates and two of its aircraft were assisting in the operation about 130 nautical miles south-southeast of the island of Karpathos.

Was Terrorism to blame?

UPDATE III: Egypt’s prime minister says he can’t “rule out” the possibility that a terrorism.

Egypt’s prime minister says he can’t “rule out” the possibility that a terrorist attack brought the plane down. He says there was no “distress call” but there was a “signal” from the plane.

A search was launched to find the downed aircraft, but an Israeli newspaper quoted witnesses as saying they saw a fireball in the sky around the time the plane disappeared.

The Greek Defense Minister said the flight abrupt turns, suddenly lost altitude and then vanished from radar.

UPDATE IV: Egyptian minister says plane crash search widens.

Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi said Egypt-Greek search for debris of crashed EgyptAir plane off Greek island of Karpathos is expanding.

Hours after the plane disappeared on Thursday, Fathi told reporters in Cairo that the diameter of the search area will widen, moving further south of the island.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s chief prosecutor Nabil Sadek says he has ordered an “urgent investigation” into crash of EgyptAir plane. Sadek instructed the National Security Prosecutor to open an “extensive investigation” in the incident.

2:15 p.m.
Greece’s defense minister, Panos Kammenos, says Greece has a submarine on standby which is participating in a NATO exercise about 100 miles (160 kms) away from the presumed crash area, while F-16 fighter jets stationed on Crete could also be used if necessary. The country already has a navy frigate, two military transport planes and a radar plane participating in the search and rescue operation, while he said Egypt had sent a C-130 military transport plane and two F-16s.

France is providing Falcon navy support aircraft, he said, while Greece has contacted the US and Russia, and the American side has offered and Greece has accepted the help of a maritime support aircraft.

24 Year Old Naja Eva Haynes Bypasses TSA, Boards Plane at Nashville International Airport .. Now Facing Criminal Charges

YET ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THE FINE TSA WORK AT OUR AIRPORTS … MAYBE THE TSA AGENTS SHOULD BE FACING CHARGES TOO.

24 year old Naja Eva Haynes of Oak Grove, KY, is facing criminal charges after she bypassed Transportation Security Administration security without being screened and boarded a plane at the Nashville International Airport. WHAT, HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? In a day and age where grandmothers and little get frisked like common criminals, an individual was allowed through check points and actually on to a plane? WHAT!!! Way to go TSA.

This woman actually got all the way on to the plane. We all feel just so secure.

TSA

Really, isn’t the TSA a joke?

A 24-year-old woman is facing criminal charges after Metro police say she bypassed Transportation Security Administration security without being screened and boarded a plane at the Nashville International Airport.

Naja Eva Haynes of Oak Grove, Ky., is facing misdemeanor charges of an airport and aircraft security violation and resisting arrest in connection with the March 24 incident.

According to an arrest affidavit, Hayes drove her car to the airport, parked and walked inside the terminal. She then walked through lane four of the airport’s TSA security checkpoint without being screened.

From there she went to Gate B5, boarded a Delta airlines plane without identification and sat down in a seat in the back of the plane, the affidavit continues.

Delta airlines spokesman Morgan Durrant said Haynes was able to access the Boeing 737 because she pushed passed several airline agents to get on board.

When approached by a gate agent, police say Haynes refused to provide identification.

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