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Apr 28th 2009 5:01AM Before making judgements one needs to ask if this shocking accident was caused by a sudden unforseeable freak gust of wind, or could the risk have been predicyed from observable conditions and official forecasts?
What is the operating company's policy regarding the experience and ability levels required to pilot to such a huge balloon?
Who was responsible for checking the ability of the pilot ane the suitabillity of the equipment for flight under the prevailing conditions?
Is there documentary evidence to show that the equipment was checked?
What standards are set and by whom?
How does this relate to personal and company reponsibility as well as insurability?
What are the regulations in Egypt that relate to the safe operation of commercial balloon operation?
Do the tourism authorities and associations have any say in the conduct of these tours?
Bearing in mind the previous accidents, what lessons have been learnt and what measures have been taken by the authorities and the operators to lessen the risks?
If the condidions were marginal and there were observable downwind hazzards, what kind of pressure was the pilot under to be tempted to take off?
The passengers must have put thier trust in the operator as it could be generally assumed that few if any of them would be in a position to make a judgement call.
I sincerely hope that straight and positive answers can be given and that the cause of this accident can be ascribed to a rare piece of bad luck rather than careless management and poor legislation.
I also hope that the findings will be published to enable balloon operators worldwide to learn from the answers given and fine tune their generally excellent reputation.