THE SOUTH Mumbai District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has dismissed an application against an insurance company, filed by a man who had sustained injuries in a hot air balloon crash, describing it as a “hazardous activity”. Nagin Parekh, a south Mumbai-based chartered accountant, had approached the forum in 2015 after the insurance company denied his mediclaim on expenditure incurred by him due to the crash.
According to Parekh, he along with his family had visited the Rann Utsav in Gujarat on January 1, 2012. They decided to take a ride on a hot air balloon, organised by the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat and Ministry of Civil Aviation.
The complainant claimed that he, along with others, including a pilot and co-pilot, were in the basket of the balloon, when it began to lose height within 5 to 10 minutes. Parekh said that as the balloon landed in a jerk, the pilot and co-pilot jumped off. The balloon again began going up and went up to 200 feet to 300 feet. The passengers tried to control the baloon as the pilots had jumped off, he added. Parekh said that the balloon subsequently came down with a heavy jerk, due to which he sustained injuries in both his legs. He was later treated for fractures at Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai.
Parekh had sought Rs 3 lakh in mediclaim for the expenditure the incurred at the hospital. The insurance company, however, rejected the claim stating that the injuries were sustained in a hazardous activity. The company said that the person going for the ride knew that he/she is taking a “high risk of life”. The company had maintained said that one who went for the ride did it at his or her “self risk” and that it was not approved by the Department of Civil Aviation, which the forum accepted.
Dismissing Parekh’s claim, it ruled on September 29: “From this, it becomes clear that the hot balloon riding activity always involves high risk of life and it is hazardous in nature.”