Hot air balloon pilot dies during Canadian festival


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A 26-year-old hot air balloon pilot died on Sunday afternoon in an incident during the International Hot Balloon festival of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, south of Montreal.

According to reports, Maxime Trepanier, the son of a well-known balloon pilot, had been involved with the festival for many years.

On Sunday, at around 7:30 am, after landing his own balloon, he went to help another team.

Trepanier was pulling on the rope of the gondola when the balloon was suddenly lifted up into the air.

According to reports, he found himself unable to free his hand in time and was lifted up to between 30 and 60 metres in the air, before falling to his death moments later.

He leaves behind a wife and two children.

According to reports, balloons remained grounded on Sunday night in tribute to Trepanier.

Organizers said the festival will continue as per the wishes of Trepanier's family.

The International Balloon Festival of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu is the biggest gathering of balloons in Canada, drawing around 450,000 visitors each year.
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