An awful start to 2012

Stuff reports:

Eleven people are dead after a hot air balloon burst into flames and smashed to the ground near Carterton this morning.

Wairarapa District Health Board spokeswoman Jill Stringer said 11 people – all of those on board – died when the balloon came down near the Clareville showgrounds north of the Wairarapa town. …

An emergency centre had been set up in the town’s Fire Station, Carterton Mayor Ron Mark said.

Police, fire officers and victim support were there, tending to families of the victims.

Mark said he understood those on board were a mix of locals and visitors to the Wairarapa.

It was a small community and many would have know some of those on board, he said.

A horrific and terrifying way to die. My thoughts are with families and friends of the deceased.

I’ve gone up myself in a hot air balloon (in Egypt). It is an amazing experience, and should be a safe one. I guess we will find out from TAIC and the Coroner what went wrong.

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