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Man fined for high-flying helium balloon stunt over city
Published Friday, March 17, 2017 12:01PM MDT
Last Updated Friday, March 17, 2017 7:02PM MDT
A man who soared over the city in a lawn chair held up by helium balloons almost two years ago was sentenced in a Calgary court on Friday for his dangerous promotional stunt.
Dan Boria tied 120, big balloons to the chair and launched the home-made contraption in July of 2015 with a plan to land in the infield at Stampede Park during the chuckwagon races.
He ended up abandoning the chair and was arrested after parachuting to safety. The chair eventually came down near High River.
Boria was charged with mischief endangering life, dangerous operation of a vehicle, two counts of failure to possess proper documents, four counts of contravening regulations and operating an aircraft in a reckless fashion.
Last December, he pleaded guity to dangerous operation of an aircraft.
On Friday, Boria was in court for sentencing and the judge in the case said the stunt was ‘unconscionably stupid’ and put others at risk.
“I understand that we did cause a little bit of danger but at the same time when you text and drive they don’t charge you as if you were to hit a whole bus of kids,” he said after the sentencing hearing. “We planned the whole thing out really well, we had some meteorologists helping us with everything and we knew what we were doing.”
Court heard that Boria reached heights of about 14,000 feet, didn’t have a radio on him, and that his flight path took him above two commercial aircraft.
Boria was given a fine totaling $6500 and told to make a $20,000 donation to charity.
“The judge just really reviewed the facts, talked about the dangerousness of the event and reconfirmed what the facts were and the dangerousness of the circumstances and I think the comments were, the resolution that was arrived at between Crown and I on behalf of Dan was most beneficial. It was a true joint submission, there’s very little case law and you heard his comments about had there been a trial it would have been much more serious than what we resolved so he’s fortunate in that respect,” said Lawyer Alain Hepner.
He says it was worth it and that he understood the risks.
"I have the greatest story to tell for the rest of my life," he said. "I didn't think that was actually considered an aircraft."
He has until September 1 to pay the fine and has already made the contribution to charity.