There's not much in life that doesn't involve an element of risk. Driving down the road, crossing the street, cycling, even rushing to answer the phone and slipping on water can result in death. People for the most part accept that sometimes bad things just happen.
What we find harder to accept is when bad things happen because other people stuffed up. Evidence at the inquest into the deaths of the 11 people who died in a hot air balloon crash in Carterton two years ago is shocking. It must be hard for the families to hear how the pilot, Lance Hopping, had such scant regard for the safety of their loved ones.
Hopping should not have been piloting a commercial aircraft. His medical certificate had expired six week earlier.
That was revealed in February last year after a newspaper demanded the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) release details of Hopping's safety record under the Official Information Act. Commercial pilots shouldn't be flying if they don't have a valid medical certificate.
The CAA report put the blame for the crash on Hopping. It says during the ill-fated flight, Hopping had plenty of time to take evasive action and land his passengers safely but the on-board safety features were never deployed.
The CAA also pointed to a lack of communication between Hopping and his ground crew as contributing to the crash, and confirmed that Hopping had previously been involved in two safety breaches as well as a hard landing in which a passenger broke an ankle.
Most damning, toxicology results showed Hopping had cannabis in his system when he crashed.
Reading between the lines, the CAA seemed to be pointing the finger at a druggie cowboy who didn't give a toss about his passengers' safety.
But this week, the CAA was found wanting. The lawyer acting on behalf of some of the victims' families presented evidence at the inquest that contained details of an internal CAA investigation into complaints about Hopping. They included reports that he was a drug user and a binge drinker. That on one occasion a balloon flight was cancelled because he was too pissed or out of it to fly and, on another, a crew member had to land the balloon because he was too impaired to carry out the landing himself.
It was also revealed that some time in his 15 years as a balloon pilot he'd cheated on his pilot exams. And yet the CAA, in its wisdom, decided that information it had was "insufficiently reliable" to justify an interview with Hopping and that because the information was hearsay and rumour and that there may have been an ulterior motive behind the assertions, it wouldn't take any action.
Bloody hell. If the CAA won't investigate a binge-drinking, dope-smoking cheat with a dodgy safety record, who the hell will it investigate? If somebody contacts them about a person in charge of a commercial aeroplane, do they dismiss that information as merely gossip as well?
Fiona Rouse, the daughter of one of the couples killed in the crash, says her parents would never have got into a balloon piloted by Hopping if they knew he had no medical certificate and was a cannabis user.
And Rouse says she refuses to call the crash an "accident", because it was preventable. She's absolutely right. Accidents happen - and when accidents happen at 200m things can get hairy. But this was an accident that could have been avoided.
Hopping failed in his duty of care but so did the CAA. Its website claims it checks that aviation rules are being complied with and it has the power to take action if they are not. It also monitors safety and security performance throughout the aviation community.
It didn't when it came to Hopping. It had every opportunity to ground him and yet didn't even bother with a formal investigation.
Just as the Department of Conservation took responsibility for the deaths at Cave Creek, so too should the CAA share responsibility for the deaths of 11 innocent people.
• Kerre McIvor is on Newstalk ZB, Monday-Thursday, 8pm-midnight