Monday, May 20, 2013

Turkey: Hot-Air Balloons Collide in Mid-Air, One Crashes in Cappadocia, 2 killed, 23 Injured

According to http://www.news24.com, a Brazilian and a Spanish tourist died on Monday and 23 others were injured after two hot-air balloons collided in central Turkey.

The accident occurred over Cappadocia's sculpted rock formations when one balloon collided with the basket of another balloon above and crashed to the ground, the governor of Nevsehir province, Abdurrahman Savas, told Anatolia news agency.
 
Most of those injured sustained fractures, which no doubt disrupted their travel plans, not to mention the terror they experienced when the two balloon baskets collided, causing one to crash.

COMMENT: As I have said in the past, following incidents in both Egypt and New Zealand, foreign tourists should be extremely cautious in booking rides on hot-air balloons in developing countries, simply because the training of operators and safety protocols is not always commensurate with what one would find in developed nations.

Several companies offer hot-air balloon rides over Cappadocia, which is a major tourist attraction with its cone-shaped rock formations, rock-carved underground cities and early Christian churches.

The accident in Cappadocia occurred just three months after a balloon exploded in Luxor, Egypt, killing 19 people on February 26.

In 2009, a British tourist was also killed in a balloon crash during a tour of the Cappadocia region.

Additionally, two adventure tourism events which resulted in fatalities in New Zealand in 2010 (Fox Glacier) and 2012 (Carterton hot-air balloon crash), were both influenced by the fact that operators (pilot and skydive masters) had cannabis in their systems at the time of the crashes.  

Please see my posting of May 7, entitled "New Zealand: Mandatory Drug Testing Urged for All Adventure Tour Operators, Implementation Elusive": 

http://stayingsafeabroad.blogspot.com/2013/05/new-zealand-mandatory-drug-testing

The adventure tourism industry's in New Zealand has taken a battering in recent years, with questions over the quality of safety standards and cannabis links to tour operators involved in both the Fox Glacier and Carterton hot-air balloon tragedies, which together claimed 20 lives.