1,500 Attend Memorial for Balloon Victims
The RV park in Surrey, British Columbia, that became the fiery scene of a fatal hot-air balloon crash has set up a trust fund to help residents rebuild their lives.
Management at the Hazelmere RV Park and Campground began accepting donations Thursday (Sept. 6) through Coast Capital Savings Credit Union, according to The Vancouver Province.
The accident claimed the lives of Langley mother and daughter Shannon and Jemma Knackstedt and burned four trailers to the ground.
A memorial attended by 1,500 people was held in Langley Thursday to honor the pair.
“A lot of people lost their homes and all their personal belongings,” said park manager Edward Zandbergen.
Zandbergen said a representative of the balloon owner’s insurance company visited the RV park and compiled files on at least 10 residents whose homes and property were damaged.
John Kageorge, a spokesman for Fantasy Balloon Charters, which owned the balloon, confirmed that his company’s liability insurance will pay for all “ground damage” caused by the crash, but only to a certain point – and no one knows yet what that point will be.
Losses not covered by the company’s liability insurance will be reimbursed from public donations, Zandbergen hopes.
“The fund is for anyone, really, in the park who’s suffered a great financial loss,” he said.
Kathleen and John Reynolds were one of the four families to lose their trailer in the inferno.
“I don’t care about a lot of money . . . I look at it as, ‘We’re alive.’ I’d give it all up in a heartbeat again for that mother and daughter,” said Kathleen Reynolds.