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Hot Air Balloon Crash Kills 11 

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Old 01-06-2012, 07:40 PM
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Hot Air Balloon Crash Kills 11

Hot air balloon crash near Carterton kills 11
KIRSTY JOHNSTON, GREER MCDONALD, CLIO FRANCIS, BLAIR ENSOR AND MARK STEVENS Last updated 12:11 07/01/2012


Marcus Wild
Police confirm 11 people were killed when the balloon burst into flames and crashed to the ground near Carterton.

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1 of 10 Phil ReidZoom Police talk to media at the scene of a horrific balloon crash near Carterton.
Carterton air balloon crash Balloon crash witness Balloon pilot 'safety conscious'
LATEST: A nurse who was one of the first on the scene of today's fatal hot air balloon crash in Wairapara risked her life trying to save the lives of two people who had tried to jump clear.

Eleven people were killed when the balloon burst into flames and crashed to the ground near Carterton early this morning. The balloon was owned by Lance Hopping, of Ballooning NZ, and it is believed he was the pilot today.



Smiles and waves from those on board the dawn holiday flight over the peaceful town turned to screams, when the balloon hit powerlines and plunged to the ground in flames.

Nurse Jacqui O'Connor, 38, was at the Carterton Campground on holiday with her family when she saw the accident.

She was second on the scene, dodging live power lines in a bid to see if anyone had survived the fiery tragedy.

She said the balloon became "like a cartoon character" as it combusted and darted around the sky before crashing.

"We saw the balloon going up and then dropping and then the basket bursting into flames, then kind of going up again," she said.

"It was almost like a cartoon character, it was just combusting. Then it had this long thin tail of smoke out the back.

It was like something off the Road Runner [cartoon], it was quite freaky."

O'Connor, a nurse at Waitakere Hospital in west Auckland, and her nursing friend Annette jumped into a car and rushed to the scene.

"There was just ash on one side where the balloon was, and a good 100 metres away were two people."

A woman whose farm the two people who landed on was doing CPR.

"There was live (power) wire all over the people and the paddock. That's where our dangers were."

O'Connor heard a woman about her age make a phonecall, "mum and dad have been in a hot air balloon accident, they've hit power lines and they're dead."

The dead couple, believed to be from the Wairarapa, were aged in their 60s.

Police and emergency services were still at the scene in Somerset Road, Carterton.

"This is a huge national, significant event, it's a tragedy as bad as tragedies get. Yes it will affect our community here in the Wairarapa,'' said Area Commander Brent Register.

Wellington District Commander Superintendent Mike Rusbatch said it appeared the balloon had struck power lines.

Rusbatch said it appeared two people had jumped from the basket before it hit the ground.

"We believe we know who the victims were. We are yet to notify many of the family members."

There were five couples on board from the greater Wellington region and the pilot.

Rusbatch said a number of the bodies had been badly burnt.

"This is a significant event. A tragedy for those involved and their families."

Police had received around half a dozen calls from residents reporting a hot air balloon in difficulty.

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A disaster victim identification team is en route to the scene to start identifying the bodies.

"We also have a number of police staff who are working with the families of the deceased to provide them with the support they need at this very difficult time."

A resident said the balloon hit powerlines causing power cuts to the local area for about 20 minutes.

Police have cordoned off both ends of Somerset Rd, with fire trucks and police cars at the site of the crash, around 300m up the road from State Highway 2.

NO CHANCE FOR PASSENGERS

It was a harrowing scene, a witness said.

"The people were enjoying a nice ride and by the looks of it they clipped a power wire," he said.

"They've clipped a power wire and tried to go up then they've sort of gone across the road then it's caught fire and they come down in a hell of a hurry. I was looking out the window watching it happen.''

He had earlier seen them passing overhead and waved to them.

"Then I heard the screams and looked out the window and heard it coming down. I was having my breakfast and I heard them, they sounded like screams of joy but they weren't.

"I ran down the road to see if I could help but by that stage it was too late. It was just burned out. By the time the emergency services got there - there wasn't much of a chance."

Vineyard manager Bevan Lambess was driving down Somerset Rd when he saw the balloon on fire.

"From a distance I saw this basket, the side of it was in flames.

"It looked like something was holding it down and I thought it was ropes but it was actually powerlines. The top of the powerline was on top of the basket. I got to the corner and it must have released itself somehow and burned through the wires - it just went straight up in the air and obviously the whole thing just went up in flames.''

"I didn't sort of believe what I was seeing. I thought there was nothing they could do to get out of there - it was too high for them to jump. I thought for sure people were going to die. ''

Another local David McKinlay described 10 metre flames bursting from the balloon before it smashed to the ground.

"I was watering the garden and heard a noise, the noise of the gas to raise the balloon. I looked over and I couldn't believe it - one side of the basket was on fire.

"It was just above the trees when I first saw it ... it looked like he tried to raise it a bit higher ... all of a sudden there was just 10 metres of flames.

"It was like a rocket coming down; it was just unbelievable."

He likened it to a flaming rocket launching.

TIGHT KNIT COMMUNITY

Lance Hopping was safety manager for Balloons over Wairarapa, event organiser Jonathan Hooker said.

"He was very safety conscious," Hooker said.

"It's obviously tragic for balloonists and balloons everywhere.

"It's a very tight knit community. All the balloonists know each other."

Carterton Mayor Ron Mark said that "everyone knows everyone" in Carterton and many people had lost friends.

"At this stage we're aware some of them are local people, from the Wairarapa and we fully expect there will be people from outside the district, as it is the holiday period," Mark said.

"Whoever the people are they will be well known in the community, widely known and they will be personal friends."

A large news media contingent has gathered at the edge of State Highway 2 but little of the accident is visible from the roadside.

Transport Accident Investigation Commission communications manager Peter Northcote said the Commission had opened an inquiry into the crash.

An investigation team was being assembled with the first two of up to four investigators due on the scene about midday.

The Commission conducts safety focused investigations with the aim of being able to explain the causes of an accident, so that lessons and recommendations can be drawn in order to help reduce the likelihood of a similar event in the future.

The balloon flights leave at dawn to catch the calmer weather, and usually end with a champagne breakfast at the Wild Oats café.

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Old 01-06-2012, 07:42 PM
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Re: Hot Air Balloon Crash Kills 11

Air balloon crashes are something you don't hear of often. Thanks for the post NiteF

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Old 01-06-2012, 07:45 PM
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Re: Hot Air Balloon Crash Kills 11

You live you life till yours 50s and 60s and it ends that way.

Wonder if some wind caught it.

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Old 01-06-2012, 07:50 PM
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Re: Hot Air Balloon Crash Kills 11

Quote:
Originally Posted by ices View Post
You live you life till yours 50s and 60s and it ends that way.

Wonder if some wind caught it.
could be the pilot seemed to know what he was doing
hmmm

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Old 01-06-2012, 08:03 PM
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Re: Hot Air Balloon Crash Kills 11

<****** width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/3JWTvY7Si3w" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></******>

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Old 01-06-2012, 11:10 PM
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Re: Hot Air Balloon Crash Kills 11

Crazy shit. Doesn't sound like fun. People jumped to escape.
And this:

Quote:
She said the balloon became "like a cartoon character" as it combusted and darted around the sky before crashing.

"We saw the balloon going up and then dropping and then the basket bursting into flames, then kind of going up again," she said.

"It was almost like a cartoon character, it was just combusting. Then it had this long thin tail of smoke out the back.

"It was like something off the Road Runner [cartoon], it was quite freaky."



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Old 01-07-2012, 01:12 AM
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Re: Hot Air Balloon Crash Kills 11

Well I won't die this way as I would rather staple a bowling ball to my nut sack then throw it off a cliff than get into a hot air balloon.

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Old 01-07-2012, 01:27 AM
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Re: Hot Air Balloon Crash Kills 11

needed a pair - a - shoot

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Old 01-07-2012, 11:18 AM
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Re: Hot Air Balloon Crash Kills 11

That would be scary

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Old 01-08-2012, 02:54 AM
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Re: Hot Air Balloon Crash Kills 11

add a propeller to the ballon so they can steer it better. The traditional ballon needs updating.

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