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

Active transportation gets easier in Kelowna

Skateboards, scooters to share roadways with cyclists following bylaw update

Starbucks gets Kelowna councillors seal of approval

New coffee shop to open in Taco Time building

Survive an Apocalypse in Kelowna with this virtual game

Apocolypse Made Easy is an interactive online survival game

RCMP spike belts help nab alleged Okanagan truck thieves

RCMP arrested two Kelowna men who attempted to evade two spike belts

Raptors announcer credited with calming massive crowd after shooting

Matt Devlin, the Raptors’ play-by-play announcer since 2008, was praised for preventing panic from spreading

First ever Indigenous person to join the RCMP to be honoured in B.C.

Hawk Kelly said becoming a Mountie was his dream job as a kid

Sexting teens at risk of harms including depression, substance use: study

Use of alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana were also found to be associated with sexting

Deadline for cabinet to decide future of Trans Mountain expansion is today

International Trade Minister Jim Carr described the decision as ‘very significant’

Rascal Flatts extend summer tour to the South Okanagan

Rascal Flatts create a Forever Summer Playlist tour extending it into the fall

Mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of B.C. inquest into overdose death

Resulting recommendations could change handling of youth records amidst the overdose crisis

Dash-cam video in trial of accused B.C. cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Most Read