Fight led to balloon crash that killed French deputy consul in Turkey’s Cappadocia, passenger says
AA photoA balloon accident in the touristic region of Cappadocia that resulted in the death of France’s deputy consul to Istanbul on April 9 occurred due to a fight between a passenger and the pilot, according to one of the survivors.
“The pilot said we should land down due to adverse wind conditions after we had been in the air for just 30 minutes,” İbrahim Fincan, a passenger who escaped without injury, told daily Habertürk. “A woman passenger objected, saying she had paid 200 Turkish Liras for the trip. She said organizers promised that the trip would last an hour. They started to argue. The pilot was looking at the woman as they were arguing, so he missed the electrical line.”
French Deputy Consul Vince Caumontat was killed when the balloon came into contact with the electrical line. Seven others were injured in the crash in the Central Anatolian province of Nevşehir.
The ministry said the balloon was carrying 20 passengers, including Juan Palacios, a Colombian basketball player for Turkey’s Tofaş club, and his fiancée.
“The electric line was at the height of the balloon,” Fincan said. “As the pilot put the balloon into descent, its basket hit the electrical line. At the time, only the deputy consul was touching the basket, as everyone was taking pictures [and not in direct contact with the basket due to their rubber-soled shoes]. He was electrocuted due to the super-high voltage.”
Fincan said it took about five seconds for the balloon to fall after touching the wire.
Meanwhile, Mutlu Deveci, an official for a tour agency in Cappadocia, said some experienced pilots had been laid off due to the decrease in the number of tourists who are coming to the region.
“The decrease in tourist numbers is a reality. We are trying to eke out a living. The salary of any experienced pilot is really high,” he said.