Hot air balloon crashes in Canada

A hot air balloon caught fire and crashed in an RV park and campground Friday evening, injuring as many as 11 people, police and a witness said. Two other people were unaccounted for.

Hot air balloon crashes in Canada
The cause of the accident wasn't known. Weather conditions were clear at the time of the sunset flight. At least three 30-foot RVs caught fire, said Don Randall, a witness who lives in the RV park. No one was reported hurt in those blazes.

Witnesses said passengers screamed and jumped to the ground as the balloon's basket caught fire. The balloon reportedly took off from a grassy field with 12 passengers.

"The thing went up about 400 feet in the air at which point it melted enough of the balloon — it collapsed," said Randall, who saw the balloon as it was on its way up and took pictures of the fiery scene. "The basket was basically a fireball, it just dropped like a stone."

"I'm just thinking, 'Oh geez, I hope there's nobody in that thing. It's basically a burning death up there,'" he said.

People who had been riding in the balloon suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to hospitals in the nearby Vancouver area, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt. Roger Morrow said in a statement.

Fifteen ambulances, two air ambulances and eight fire trucks raced to the scene at the Hazelmere park, he said. Smoke could be seen billowing from the crash site from miles away, CTV said.

Randall said at least two vehicles were damaged along with the RVs. He said he ran to his RV and grabbed a small fire extinguisher, but it proved of little use.

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

Associated Press

Last Mod: 26 Ağustos 2007, 11:46
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