Hot air balloon crashes into power line during B.C. carnival

There were no major injuries reported in the incident near Vernon

UPDATE: 5:10 p.m.

The Transportation Safety Board says it will investigate after a hot air balloon taking part in the winter carnival in Vernon, B.C., crashed on Friday.

Police say a wind draft may have caused the balloon to strike a rock face, then collide with power lines near the highway south of Armstrong.

———

A hot air balloon came in contact with a power line Friday morning.

A pilot, who flies commercially in Kelowna, hit a line near Armstrong while flying in the North Okanagan Hot Air Balloon Festival (a Vernon Winter Carnival event).

“He hit a power pole and the envelope (balloon) is destroyed but everyone is fine,” said Deb White, Carnival chairperson.

“Just a fluke accident.”

In fact, the pilot isn’t deterred from flying again.

“He does have another (balloon) and he’s just trying to get the log book so he can go back up again,” said White.

It’s unknown what caused the crash, which took place near the Tolko mill around 10 a.m.

Vernon RCMP responded to reports of the collision but said that initial stages of the investigation show that the balloon may have encountered an updraft from wind that forced the balloon to strike a rock face of a hill adjacent to the highway, causing it to then collide with the power lines.

“Officers have made contact with the pilot and the six passengers on board the board at the time of the incident,” said Cst. Kelly Brett. “No injuries have been reported to the RCMP, and no obvious signs of damage to the power lines. However, BC Hydro has been notified.”

The investigation has now been turned over to the Transportation Safety Board.

Evan Erickson 27, was not involved in the incident but was one of the pilots flying over Vernon Friday morning.

“It’s very rare but power lines are the number one balloon danger and they’re harder to see in winter,” said Erickson, who has been flying for three years.

“You can be very precise with a balloon if the winds aren’t doing crazy things.”

It’s the first time White can remember a crash in the 28-year history of the festival.

In fact, this year’s festival got off to a great start for the pilots and crew as they raced to see how far they could fly Friday morning, leaving an empty lot across from Home Depot and making it to Armstrong.

“They said on the positive side, speaking with one of the runners…this is one of the best runs they’ve ever had,” said White.

See: Skies clear in Vernon

The North Okanagan Hot Air Balloon Festival is in its 28th year.

The balloons are scheduled for a second flight Friday, two on Saturday and one more on Sunday – all weather dependent.


@VernonNews
newstips@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Lack of consultation on Chemainus Road corridor project irks business owners, residents

Surprise expressed over change to anticipated North Cowichan plans

Fuller Lake Beach remains closed

High bacteria count prevents people from being in the water during warm summer days

Wildlife photographer Boomer Jerritt will host Ladysmith lecture

Fresh off a trip to Churchill, Manitoba, Jerritt will speak on how climate change affects the arctic

Get ready for the 16th annual Ladysmith Show ‘n’ Shine

The show will feature cars from the past, as well as modern day marvels

Excavators help cute kid who copied their dig with his toys stay “safe at work”

Carson Carnegie wakes up at 7:00 am every morning to watch construction work on his street

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

Most Read