Virgin Balloon Flights sued by Chatteris family after horse is spooked

A Virgin hot air balloon

A Virgin hot air balloon - Credit: Archant

VIRGIN Balloon Flights have been sued following a hot air balloon incident in which a teenage girl from Chattteris suffered injuries to her neck and lower back.

Jessica Fuller-Gray and her father had been out riding together and were back at the stables preparing to feed the horses when they noticed a hot air balloon overhead.

As her horse started to feed Jessica held him with a rope and stood watching, said her solicitor James Reilly of Manchester law firm Ralli.

Her father realised the balloon was falling towards the ground and shouted up to the pilot to not fire any gas into the balloon as it would scare the horse, he said.

As the balloon continued to drop, it became closer to Jessica and her horse, so that she could feel the heat from it, he said.

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“In an attempt to gain some height the pilot fired gas into the balloon which was when the horse became spooked and bolted. “The horse reared up, span round and started to gallop across the yard.

“For a moment, Jessica was being pulled along the yard before she managed to get her hand loose from the rope she had been holding.

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“Her horse was very distressed and continued to run around the yard, eventually crashing through fencing and into his own field.”

Jessica was treated at hospital for neck and lower back injuries.

James Reilly, personal injury solicitor and partner at Ralli, who acted on behalf of Jessica and her family, said: “This was a case that involved a child and as such had to be referred to a solicitor.

“Initially, a representative from Virgin Balloon Flights attempted to pacify the family with a gift of champagne which as a practising solicitor, I find disingenuous in the extreme.”

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