Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hot air balloon in New Zealand crashes as fire breaks out in basket, Killing 11 people on-board

A hot air balloon carrying 11 people turned into a horrifying tower of 'sheer flame' this morning after hitting power lines in rural New Zealand, killing all those riding on-board.

Police said five couples and the pilot, Lance Hopping, were killed when the hot air balloon crashed near Wellington in an area that is popular with thrill-seeking tourists.

Local Mayor Ron Mark said those on board were a mix of local people and tourists. Early reports suggested a fire had started in the basket, causing the canopy to ignite, resulting in the apparatus plunging to the ground in flames, giving no hope for those on board.

One witness said that amid screams from those in the basket, two of the passengers had jumped out to avoid the flames as it plunged.

The pilot and five couples from the Wellington area, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) south of the crash site, were killed. Read More