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.

Fatal Amtrak Crash: Train Traveling 106 MPH When it Hit Curve and Derailed … 7 Dead, 200 Injured and Individuals Still Missing (UPDATE: Amtrak Engineer ID’d as 32 Year Old Brandon Bostian, Not Talking & Has Lawyer)


According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the train that crashed in Philadelphia resulting in 7 dead, 200 injured and some still missing was going 106 mph as it approached the curve in Port Richmond. The NTSB stated the “black box” data recorder indicated that the train’s speed at 106 mph just before the curve. The train’s engineer applied emergency brakes, but several seconds later, the train’s speed was only down to 102 mph, when the data recorder stopped. The speed limit for that curve at Frankford Junction was 50 mph. It is safe to say that it was excessive speed, not an infrastructure problem that was the cause of this terrible train crash as the Amtrak train 188 was traveling twice the speed limit.

An Amtrak train involved in a fatal crash here was traveling at more than 100 miles an hour, twice the speed limit, as it entered a sharp curve where it derailed Tuesday night, federal officials said Wednesday.

As rescue personnel picked through the train’s wreckage and local hospitals cared for injured passengers, the National Transportation Safety Board said a “black box” data recorder put the train’s speed at 106 mph just before the curve. The train’s engineer applied emergency brakes, but several seconds later, the train’s speed was only down to 102 mph, when the data recorder stopped.

“As we know, it takes a long time to decelerate a train,” said NTSB member Robert Sumwalt in a news conference.

Referring to the application of the brakes before the crash, he added, “You’re supposed to enter the curve at 50 miles an hour. He was already in the curve.”

UPDATE I: As per, the Amtrak train’s engineer is not talking and has lawyered up.

The train’s engineer, who has not been identified, declined to give a statement to police investigators and left the East Detectives Division with an attorney, police commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said Wednesday.

The train’s conductor, also unidentified, was at Einstein Hospital with a skull fracture, Ramsey said.


Brandon Bostian was the engineer of the Amtrak train that crashed in Philadelphia,
killing at least 7 and injuring more than 60. (LinkedIn)

UPDATE II: Amtrak Engineer of Derailed Train, Brandon Bostian, Can’t Remember Crash Details.

The lawyer of Brandon Bostian claims his client has no recollection of the crash.

Brandon Bostian, the engineer driving the Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia Tuesday night, has no recollection of the crash itself and “no explanation” for what happened, his attorney told ABC News.

The attorney for Bostian, 32, a Queens, New York, resident, confirmed his identity to ABC News, and added that Bostian voluntarily turned over a blood sample and his cell phone and is cooperating with authorities.

Bostian was “very distraught” to learn of the loss of life in the crash, the attorney said, adding Bostian only remembers driving the train to the crash area generally, then later getting tossed around, coming to, finding his bag and his cell phone, and dialing 911.

Bostian suffered a concussion and head wound that required 14 staples, as well as injuries to both of his legs in the crash, the attorney said — but Bostian told the attorney he had “no health issues to speak of” before the crash and was on no medications.

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