B.C. Sues Transport Canada Over Crash
The provincial government of British Columbia is suing Transport Canada, among others, to recover the cost of medical treatment for passengers injured in an horrific balloon accident in 2007. B.C. says Transport Canada didn't do enough to ensure the commercial ballooning company involved was properly qualified and equipped to carry out the type of flight that ended in disaster on Aug. 24, 2007. Two people were trapped and died and most of the 11 others were hurt when they jumped from the balloon's basket after a propane fire erupted. Under Canada's public medical system, provincial governments fund a major portion of healthcare. Earlier this year, British Columbia enacted a law enabling it to recover the cost of treatment of those injured due to negligence or criminal acts. The province alleges at least four of the passengers suffered serious injuries, including brain injury, burns, broken bones and traumatic stress disorder. The mother and grown daughter who died couldn't escape and burned to death as the balloon broke its tether and shot 400 feet before the basket broke loose, landing in a campground, destroying several cars and RVs in the ensuing fire.
The suit names pilot Stephen Pennock and his company SRP Adventures, balloon manufacturer Aerostar International and Raven Industries, Doug Scott Aircraft Repair and Canada's Attorney General on behalf of Transport Canada. The province alleges Transport Canada issued operating permits to Pennock and his company without adequately ensuring they were capable of carrying out the work the licenses allowed. Canada's Transportation Safety Board released a report in 2008 calling on Transport Canada to beef up commercial ballooning standards and regulations.