Police will mark the one year anniversary of the Carterton hot air balloon tragedy today by attending a memorial service in Carterton, alongside the families of the 11 victims, other emergency services personnel and the wider Carterton community.
Shortly before 7:30am on Saturday 7 January 2012, a hot air balloon crashed in a paddock in Somerset Road, Clareville, following a 45 minute flight, after hitting power lines, causing the basket to ignite. Tragically, all 11 onboard perished in the fire.
Wairarapa Area Commander Inspector Brent Register says, "Today we remember the 11 people who lost their lives in this terrible tragedy, which affected the Carterton and wider Wairarapa community so deeply."
The deceased were:
- Pilot Lance HOPPING, aged 53 years, of Carterton.
- Husband and wife Howard and Diana COX of Wellington. Howard was aged 71 years and Diana 63.
- Husband and wife Desmond and Ann DEAN of Masterton. Ann was aged 65 and Desmond aged 70.
- Cousins Valerie BENNETT, aged 70 of Masterton and Denise DELLABARCA, aged
58 of Paraparaumu.
- Partners Stephen HOPKIRK, aged 50 and Belinda HARTER, aged 49 years, both of Lower Hutt.
- Johannes JORDAAN, known as Chrisjan, aged 21 of Wellington and girlfriend
Alexis STILL, aged 19, also of Wellington.
Inspector Register says, "Today our thoughts are with the families of all 11 victims, as they continue to cope with their grief, one year on."
He says, "Police and other emergency services personnel were also deeply affected by the tragedy on the 7th of January and today we reflect and remember those who lost their lives on that fateful day."