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Dubai: Pilot jailed for death of Indian in balloon crash

July 05, 2010 11:19 IST

The pilot of a hot-air balloon that crashed in United Arab Emirates killing two people including an Indian, has been sentenced to a year in prison and ordered to pay 400,000 dirhams ($108,932.46) in blood money, court officials have said.

Polish pilot Piotr Gorny was in charge of the balloon on April 25 when it undertook an emergency landing approximately 50 km outside Al Ain near Abu Dhabi.

The tourists Jean-Pierre Chamignon, 53, of France, and Mukesh Shah, 56, of India, were killed as the craft hit the ground and dragged for hundreds of metres. Each of the victim's families will get 200,000 dirhams ($ 543,17) in compensation, according to a source at the court.

Gorny, who was also fined 20,000 dirhams, is the only person convicted of any offence relating to the crash of the Cameron Z-425 balloon, which was operated by Balloon Adventures Emirates.

The company has been forbidden from flying as the General Civil Aviation Authority continues its investigation.

The firm's owner, Peter Kollar, has reportedly been convicted twice for breaching safety standards while running a similar business in New Zealand.

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