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

Ancient microbes discovered off the Juan de Fuca Ridge potentially offers glimpse into alien life

The marine bacteria is dependent on hydrogen, a compound present almost everywhere

Saanich rental project wins silver by going ‘green’

The Verve rental housing project stands at the corner of Boleskine Road and Whittier Avenue

Volunteers needed for annual Mother’s Day walk

Breast Cancer Society of Canada hosts annual Mother’s Day event

Sidney Lions dish $4,000 to help build on growing trishaw bike charity

Cycling Without Age Society draws attention as far off as Washington

420 celebrations turn over new leaf at B.C. legislature

Cannabis is legal for the first time in the 21-year existence of the 420 event in Victoria

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Most Read