British Columbia

Man injured by runaway horse suing Vancouver's PNE

An elderly Burnaby man is suing the Pacific National Exhibition and the City of Vancouver over a high-profile accident that took place during The Fair at the PNE this summer.

Warning: Graphic image of injured man is included in this story

In August, a horse that wandered out of the livestock barn at the Pacific National Exhibition bolted when a trainer tried to corral it. The horse ran into people along Miller Drive in Hastings Park. Two people were sent to hospital.

An elderly Burnaby man is suing the Pacific National Exhibition and the City of Vancouver over a high-profile accident that took place during The Fair at the PNE this summer.

Benny Wong claims he suffered traumatic injuries when he was knocked over by a horse that escaped its stall during the annual fair.

On Aug. 22, witnesses described a scene of chaos as a horse made its way out of the livestock barns, and wandered out onto Miller Drive in Hastings Park. After a staff member approached the horse and tried to corral it, the horse spooked and took off at a gallop.

Witness Andrea Melton, who was in the area with her 21-month-old daughter, said she heard someone shout before turning around to see the horse hit an elderly man.

"He spun around, dropped his cane, landed on his side and immediately there was a pool of blood under his face and everybody was screaming, shouting, 'Call 911,' and it was so scary," she said.

A lawsuit filed by Burnaby's Yuen Yen Benny Wong claims he is the man in this photo — the man who was seriously injured by a runaway horse at The Fair at the PNE this summer. (Courtesy John Sharon)

John Sharon, who took some photographs of what unfolded next, also saw the man fall.

"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.

Sharon called 911 on his cellphone and walked over to find a man he guessed was 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.

Sharon took a few photos at the scene with his cellphone camera, and said he was then approached by PNE staff and administration, who demanded he hand over his camera and delete the photos he took of the horse and the man on the ground.

Wong's lawsuit claims he is that man — and that he suffered head injuries, a traumatic brain injury and a stroke as a result of the encounter with the horse.

In addition to suing the PNE and the City of Vancouver, which owns the land the PNE uses, for negligence, Wong is also suing the horse's owner.  

The PNE could not be reached for comment Friday.

The identity of the horse's owner is unknown to Wong, and is listed in the suit as "John Doe."

Read the lawsuit

With files from the CBC's Jason Proctor


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