Hot-air balloon crash kills 11 in New Zealand

Hot-air balloon crash kills 11 in New Zealand

A hot-air balloon has crashed in New Zealand, killing all eleven people on board.

The incident, which took place close in the Wairarapa region, 50 miles from Wellington, is thought to have occurred when the balloon hit power lines at Clareville before bursting into flames.

All five couples on board and the pilot – an experienced balloonist - were killed. Two of the couples had attempted to jump from the balloon before the fire flared.

The trip was run by the Early Morning Balloons company, which operates in Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa – both of which are popular spots for balloonists. The annual Balloons Over Wairarapa festival takes place in March.

New Zealand’s Transport Accident Investigation Commission is investigating the incident, which is thought to be the worst air disaster in New Zealand since Air New Zealand crashed in 1979 killing 257 passengers.

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