I knew from the onset that by finally electing to go public was never going to be the easiest of paths to take, yet only taken after much deliberation. This move was only taken as the very last resort, & after all other avenues had failed to bring SBS into line with the professionally accepted norm, above all else yet with an element of urgency, bring them closer safer operational practices.
With passenger safety evidently in short supply, a public awareness program was very much called for. It's just a pity that SBS passengers had to die for the site to be transformed from critics misspalced discription of disgruntled ex-employee, to a credible legal document, one that has subsequently been referred to in US court proceedings, one that by necessity, may well be referred to in future legal proceedings.
After receiving a letter from director Tony Pascoe closing with "Nigel put up or shut up" the choice was so limiting to the point that there really was no choice at all.
For a pilot to come out and go public just as I have done, not only is it very dangerous for myself, undoubtedly it is of course hugely embarrassing for the operator in question, however weeks after receiving this letter of support in February 2010, (found below) "when others fail to see the negative events about to unfold" with the SBS failing to heed the warnings, at the same time, arrogantly displaying their total indifference towards passenger safety, on 5 May 2010 I warned the public to expect an accident coming out of the Serengeti Balloon Safaris rides operation. Even without the need to make any valid reference to questionable equipment & fuel configuration, it was the displayed attitude that ultimately gave a clear indication that it was obvious that there was an accident waiting to happen in the Serengeti.
Retaliation wasn't far behind.
In June 2010 SBS/Tony Pascoe published his counterclaim website. As one might expect, there was some wholesale ridicule coming my way, not only questioning my competency, yet also my mental state, let's see what he had to say:-
It is complete nonsense that his dismissal had anything whatsoever to do with his concerns for safety. Rather, it was our concern for safety of passengers and colleagues that caused us concern regarding his mental state and we felt that he was a serious liability.
I have since learnt that this is the normal line of defence when a whistleblower finally speaks out.
"Safety is our absolute priority. We have been operating balloons in Serengeti since 1989 and have an excellent ballooning safety record"
Upon reading the above sentence, yet prior to SBS's next fatal accident, I quickly responded, stating that therefore the odds must be stacking up against them. You may well want to take and more in-depth look at what Mr Pascoe had to say in his outburst. I should warn you that it is not pretty nor is it anyway factual. Nevertheless once one sees such a knee-jerk publication I hand no alternative but to defend myself. A Pandora's box is opened. I do have an 18,000 word response to Mr Pascoe's outburst, one that may well find its way onto this site during the coming weeks.
October 2010: Soon after the fatal accident of 29th September 2010), not in the least surprising to me, was that their counterclaim website was immediately changed, after all, how could it not be!
Overconfident, obviously failing to learn lessons from previous accidents, (there had been a few low-flying trees, (a big tourist attraction in the Serengeti) it's not long before the Domino effect comes into play, unfortunately, as is often the case with the disastrous consequences.
The Domino Effect
1: March 2009, SBS sacked their safety officer (that's me) just days after I had issued my first & what was obviously to be my last safety brief. The countdown to two futher accidents commences
2: I have since learned that just months after my departure (in March 2009,) that on 27 September 2009, SBS had suffered an accident whereby a passengers suffered head injuries. The injuries were serious enough to require medical attention. That accident was the result of a balloon crashing into a tree. I am informed that the American pilot involved in that unfortunate event, was subsequently sacked.
3: Time for SBS to seek out yet another replacement.( my replacement, replacment if you get my drift)
4: Step forward the Canadian replacement. The clock is still ticking, one year and two days after the above mentioned ,one American along with one Danish passenger are to be killed. other well suffer life long injuried, yet adding insult to their injuries in an out of court settelment a survior who is about to loose her husband in SBS next fatal accident, shall suffer the indignity of being gagged.
5: 29th of September 2010. Canadian pilot crashes killing two passengers, at the same time injuring eight others.
6: November 2010. SBS demand $500,000 from me, apparently and according to the operator, it is the very pilot & safety officer that warned of disaster that is damaging SBS's operation.
7: June 2011 UK SBS threatens to sue me for defamation yet the sabre rattling dies down by years end. From what I am led to believe, SBS would have been required to deposit a sum of £200,000 with the courts priour to taking this case further. With truth of what I had said undoubtedly the best defence in such cases, I feel that SBS were guaranteed to lose & they along with their solicitors kwew it. Now what could they do if they are to at last silience me? They desparetely neeeded a plan.
8: September 2012: I'm just about to testify in the US court against Serengeti Balloon Safaris.
9: September 2012: UK, Tony Pascoe lodges complaint with Avon and Somerset police of harassment & blackmail, no deposit necessary.