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

Figures reveal spike in highway traffic jams between Abbotsford and Langley

Nearly one in 20 westbound vehicles between Abbotsford and Langley clocked at under 60 km/h

Taser takedown in Chilliwack complex after incident gets violent

Male suspect became agitated under questioning and repeatedly punched an officer

Harrison looks to test viability of solar power

Harrison has applied for a grant to see whether solar power is an option for its village buildings

Agassiz man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Funding uncertain, but Agassiz’s Storytime in the Park will go on, organizer says

The literacy program takes place each summer in Agassiz, Harrison and Seabird Island

VIDEO: Agassiz remembers local officer at grave-marking ceremony

Montague White-Fraser had been buried in the Old Cemetery for 92 years without a headstone

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

UPDATE: One dead after house fire in rural Maple Ridge

Dewdney Trunk Road closed, traffic being re-routed

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

Highway 1 closed near Revelstoke

No estimated time for opening

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

Most Read