Hot Air Balloon Crash Kills 11

Disaster strikes in New Zealand
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 6, 2012 4:58 PM CST
Hot Air Balloon Crash in New Zealand Kills 11
Police cordon off the area after a hot air balloon crashed in Carterton, New Zealand.   (AP Photo/SNPA/Ross Setford)

A hot air balloon crashed and killed all 11 people aboard near a rural New Zealand town about 90 miles north of the capital of Wellington, officials said. Witnesses told local media of seeing 30-foot-high flames rising from the balloon's basket before it plummeted to the ground. Police don't know what went wrong yet. The stricken balloon hit power lines as it fell, causing electricity cuts in the local area for about 20 minutes.

"It was just above the trees when I first saw it," said one witness. "I looked like he (the pilot) tried to raise it a bit higher ... all of a sudden there was just 10 meters of flames. It was like a rocket coming down—it was just unbelievable." (More New Zealand stories.)

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