Friday, January 6, 2012

Hot air balloon crash in New Zealand kills 11



A hot air balloon crash in New Zealand early Saturday killed 11 people -- the pilot and 10 passengers -- officials said.

No one survived the crash, which happened on the outskirts of Carterton, a town northeast of Wellington.

A fire likely started on board the balloon, sending it plummeting to the ground, said Superintendent Mike Rusbatch, Wellington District commander for New Zealand Police.

It was not immediately clear what started the fire, though eyewitnesses said the balloon had hit a power line, according to police.

"This is an absolutely tragic incident and our thoughts are with the families of the deceased. We are in the process of notifying next of kin. However, we will not be releasing any names until all next of kin have been advised," Rusbatch said.

A police spokeswoman said all the victims were from the wider Wellington area.

An investigation into the cause of the accident is under way. more