Canada balloon fire claims lives

Passengers leap from blazing balloon before it crashes into a field near Vancouver.

    The balloon crashed into a field shortly
    after take off [Reuters]

    The hot-air balloon, which was operated by Fantasy Balloons Charters based in Langley, British Columbia, was one of several balloons in flight at the time.

    Witnesses said passengers began leaping from the balloon when it rose to about six metres.

    Roger Morrow, Surrey police officer, said the fire sent up a plume of smoke that could be seen for kilometres.

    Serious injuries

    Betty Nicholson, a spokeswoman for the ambulances services, said three passengers had serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

    She said the more seriously injured have burns and internal bleeding.

    John K George, a spokesman for Fantasy Balloon Charters, said he does not know why the balloon caught fire shortly after take off.

    He said: "The company deeply regrets this evening's incident and all injuries associated with it (and) inconvenience to those people being displaced."

    Investigation

    The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating.

    A similar incident occurred earlier this month in the central Canadian province of Manitoba where 12 people were injured.

    Bill Yearwood, an investigator with the Transportation Safety Board, told CBC News: "The operator had loaded 12 passengers and was preparing to launch the balloon when an uncontrolled fire erupted.

    "The balloon was tethered at the time and the pilot instructed people to get out. It subsequently rose and the tether broke and it climbed before it collapsed and fell into a residential area."

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    We visualised 1.2 million votes at the UN since 1946. What do you think are the biggest issues facing the world today?

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.