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To email: Tony Veltri .
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'Booking agents are oblivious to issues that need addressing'to the editor,
Posted June 9, 2014I have just read your report on the Sundance Balloons' accident, not their first, nor do I suspect will it will be their last.
Sundance Balloons was fined $5,000 in 2010 after an accident in Aug. 2007, when it was established that they had conducted illegal repairs. As a balloon pilot/safety officer, as well as a pilot instructor, I am not the most popular person within the industry for having raised passenger safety concerns, not the thing to do if one wants to enhance one's career.
I am quite concerned to see contained within your report, that already Sundance Balloons is hastily going on the defensive when stating that they are going to investigate whether passengers dissipate landing instructions.
I would imagine that they are referring to the passengers not all were unable to hold on as tight as they needed. After the Serengeti balloon disaster, it is well recognised that passenger restraints be brought into play, far better than leaving it to chance of novice passengers having the required strength required to sustain the often bumpy landings.
In British Columbia there was the fatal accident where mother and daughter were burnt alive, subsequent investigations revealed illegal modifications and overloading had taken place. At the time transport Canada also coming for criticism for failing to provide appropriate oversight.
Personally, having witnessed far too many accidents in the media of late, including the New Zealand power line accident, in which it was established during an autopsy, that the pilot Lance Hopping had indulged in the taking of cannabis prior to the flight, due to his lapsed medical, his commercial pilot's licence was inactive, he along with his 10 passengers were all killed.
More recently we've seen serious accidents taking place in Turkey, the world's largest fatal balloon accident taking place in Egypt taking the lives of 19, as well as 26 being injured and six killed in Slovenia. On that occasion despite being the world's largest hot air balloon, it was discovered that the pilot was not licensed. Remaining in Slovenia, with the British survivors making contact with me, they told of the horrific scenes, with the deceased burnt beyond recognition.
You may be interested in the following site, http://www.serengeti-balloon-accident.com one that will give you a true insight into what takes place behind the scene. Both passengers as well as booking agents are oblivious to issues that need addressing within this industry.