Balloon Crash

Over a year after a hot air balloon crashed in Lockhart, leaving the pilot and all fifteen passengers dead, the National Transportation Safety Board finally completed its investigation into the incident. The board revealed its findings during a hearing in Washington on Tuesday, and found that poor regulatory oversight by the Federal Aviation Administration contributed to the deadly crash, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The safety board specifically recommended the FAA require medical checks for commercial balloon pilots, after revealing that the pilot, Skip Nichols, had been significantly impaired at the time of the crash by a cocktail of drugs, including Oxycodone, Valium, and enough Benadryl to have the same effect as drunk driving. Nichols also had prior convictions for drunk driving, but was still able to get his pilot’s license. After the hearing, U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett, an Austin Democrat, and Senator Ted Cruz issued statements supporting the safety board’s recommendation.

Oilfield Accident

A tank explosion at a South Texas oilfield on Tuesday morning left two workers injured, according to the San Antonio Express-News. The tanks blew up at a Carrizo Oil & Gas, Inc. production facility just south of Dilley, and the two workers are reportedly in stable condition after being transported to the hospital. Emergency responders created a quarter-mile evacuation zone around the facility, which is in a very rural area, La Salle County acting Fire Chief Daniel Mendez told the Express-News. Other buildings and facilities apparently weren’t affected. A spokesperson for the Texas Railroad Commission told the Express-News Tuesday afternoon that it had an inspector on site, and that the operator had notified the commission of the tank explosion.

Soaring Rockets

The NBA season officially began Tuesday night, and the new-look Houston Rockets started their season with a huge comeback win on the road against the reigning champs in Oakland, California, according to the Houston Chronicle. James Harden led the Rockets, scoring with 27 points, and new addition superstar point guard Chris Paul had eleven assists, but it was two late-fourth-quarter free throws by P.J. Tucker—an offseason free-agent signing known more for his defense than his scoring—that gave the Rockets a 122-121 win over the Golden State Warriors. The Rockets fell behind by as much as seventeen points in the third quarter and were down thirteen heading into the fourth, usually an unsurmountable deficit against the Warriors. But the Rockets hung in there and rallied in the fourth, and emerged the lucky victors after the Warriors’ Steph Curry missed a three-point shot with seconds left and, after Golden State secured the offensive rebound, Kevin Durant swished a jumper that dropped in just after the final horn sounded.