Kenyan farmer to sue Google over balloon crash

12 January 2018

Internet

A Kenyan farmer is seeking compensation for destruction of crops after curious villagers flocked to his farm in central Meru County last week to view a crashed internet balloon.

Hundreds of locals swarmed to Joseph Nguthari’s property in Nthambiro, Igembe Central to catch a glimpse of the high altitude device that is part of Google’s Project Loon programme.

Project Loon is a global network of high altitude balloons which ascend like weather balloons until they reach the stratosphere, where they sail about 20km above the earth.

“The device was emitting a lot of light and people came in droves from far to see it. Some came in vehicles and motorbikes and entered my farm without caution. About seven acres were trampled on. Google experts who collected the device did not care to assess the damage on my farm and those of neighbours.”

Loon balloons act as floating mobile phone towers, allowing local telecommunications companies to extend their coverage to remote areas and provide 4G internet.

Nguthari says the curious residents trampled on his maize, beans and green grams crops while some helped themselves to his miraa trees, causing ‘massive’ damage.

“The device was emitting a lot of light and people came in droves from far to see it. Some came in vehicles and motorbikes and entered my farm without caution. About seven acres were trampled on. Google experts who collected the device did not care to assess the damage on my farm and those of neighbours,” Nguthari said on Wednesday. Read the full article on africanews here.