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Thursday, 5 September 2013

Virgin hot-air balloon 'scared horse to death in paddock'

(from http://www.telegraph.co.uk)

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin hot-air balloon flights firm was accused today of terrifying a horse to death by flying too low over her paddock.

Eighteen-year-old thoroughbred mare Della bolted as the huge balloon's burners ignited overhead and she fell to the ground. 

A vet was called but could do nothing to save Della, who had to be humanely destroyed.
Her distraught owner Liz Jones, a 52-year-old accountant with the town council in Henley-on-Thames, Oxon, said seven other horses in nearby fields also stampeded in terror when the red Virgin balloon passed low overhead after aborting a touchdown at Henley Rugby Club. 

She said "The recommended minimum height is 500ft around livestock but this was hovering at about two or three times the height of the town hall when it came over the field. It had been even lower than that beforehand." 

Mrs Jones had been in the field with Della at Friar Park Stables in Gravel Hill, Henley, when the balloon appeared. 

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