Freak accident claimed two lives, injured 11 others
jeff hodson/metro Vancouver
A witness to a freak hot-air balloon accident that killed two people, injured 11 others and destroyed three homes in a South Surrey trailer park said yesterday that the horrifying image of the flaming basket is burned into her mind.
Tricia Henry was walking back to her fifth-wheel trailer with her daughter and young twin granddaughters when she saw the hot air balloon rise up front of her with fire spewing from the basket.
“It was so horrific, I can’t get the images out of my mind,” said Henry, who lives in the Hazelmere RV Park and Campground and has started taking tranquilizers to help deal with the trauma.
“It was the most horrific thing I’ve ever seen.”
At around 7:30 p.m. Friday, the balloon, with 13 people, caught fire during takeoff in a nearby field.
People leapt from the balloon as it rapidly gained height. Some jumped from as high as five storeys in the air.
The balloon drifted north and plummeted in flames onto an RV, destroying it and two others. Two vehicles and a golf cart were also destroyed. No one on the ground was injured.
Two people didn’t jump and were killed. Media reports said the dead were a mother and her teenaged daughter. Some of the injured were listed in serious condition.
Yesterday, yellow fire tape separated onlookers from the burned-out husks of two RVs and a heap of black slag where a third had been.
The balloon and two damaged vehicles were removed from the RV Park yesterday.