Published on Monday, January 9, 2012

Eleven killed in hot air balloon tragedy

A hot air balloon is thought to have hit power cables in New Zealand and burst into flames killing 11 passengers including the pilot.

Two of the passengers died after leaping from the basket to escape the fire while the balloon plummeted to the ground on Saturday.

The balloon, which crashed near Wellington, was piloted by experienced balloon owner Lance Hopping who was a safety officer for the town’s annual balloon gala event.

New Zealand's Transport Accident Investigation Commission opened an immediate inquiry.

By Diane Evans

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