Balloon tragedy inquest continues

The inquest into the Carterton Balloon Tragedy is set to continue today at Wellington District Court.

All 11 people on board were killed when a balloon crashed into power lines and caught on fire near Carterton on January 7, 2012.

Coroner Peter Ryan was given evidence from emergency officers, forensic experts, witnesses and family members in May, before the inquest was adjourned.

This was to allow for evidence to be given by unrelated parties.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) has already established that pilot errors were ultimately responsible for the balloon crash.

At the time, Carterton pilot Lance Hopping, 53, had cannabis in his system.

While a raft of recommendations have been made to address this, legislation specifically implementing mandatory random drug testing has not been passed -- adding to the frustrations of families involved.

At the moment, aviation adventure operators are required to ensure staff whose work directly affects the safety of the operation are drug- and alcohol-free in the workplace.

The TAIC investigation report highlighted a previous "concern" raised with the Civil Aviation Authority about Mr Hopping and the cancellation of a balloon flight due to his appearance of being "too pissed/and or high".


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