A man who captured pictures of an accident involving a runaway horse at the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver last week says he was shocked when PNE staff told him to delete the pictures.
Two fairgoers were injured Thursday when a horse got away from his trainer and galloped out into the crowd along Hastings Park's Miller Drive. One of those injured, an elderly man, is still recovering in hospital.
John Sharon said he was manning his space simulator ride when he saw the escaped horse run up the road and back again, kicking two fairgoers in the process.
"I instantly seen this elderly Chinese man fall like a bowling pin. I've never seen a guy go from vertical to horizontal faster in my life," Sharon said.
He said he called 911 on his cellphone and walked over to find a man in his mid-80s on the ground, bleeding profusely. Sharon said he relayed the dispatcher's first aid instructions to another woman who was helping, telling her to apply pressure to the wound and to keep the man on his side.
That was when PNE staff arrived, told Sharon to leave and turned the man over. Sharon said he was concerned, walked back and took a photo with his cellphone.
Sharon said he couldn't believe the reaction of PNE management.
"A group of them, five of them, surrounded me — of administration — demanding that I hand over the photograph, show them the photograph, hand over the phone and delete the photographs," Sharon said.
Laura Ballance, spokeswoman for the PNE, said Sharon's actions were out of line.
"Paramedics were working on an individual. He was told to step back and he was told that if he didn't get out of the physical space of these first responders that he would be escorted off our site and we stand by that," she said.
Balance said the medical staff that took over were highly trained, and that no one else was told to stop taking pictures —. but Sharon was in the way and was taking close-ups. Ballance admitted a staff member did suggest he erase the photos as the right thing to do.
"That it is an immoral and irresponsible thing to do: This person is in medical distress. You should, as a moral person, delete those photos," she said.
Sharon refused to delete the photos, and said PNE administration spent more than an hour asking for the photos even after a police officer asked for copies.
Sharon insisted he was never in the way of first responders.