DEATHS

Police remain at scene of hot air balloon crash

Saturday 7 January 2012, 1:05PM
By New Zealand Police
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CARTERTON

Police and emergency services remain at the scene of a hot air balloon crash in Somerset Road, Carterton which occurred around 0730 hours this morning.

Police received around half a dozen calls from residents in the Somerset Road area reporting a hot air balloon in difficulty.

Wellington District Commander Superintendent Mike Rusbatch says at this stage, it appears a fire has ignited on board, causing the hot air balloon to crash in farmland. Sadly, the pilot and ten passengers onboard have not survived.

"This is an absolutely tragic incident and our thoughts are with the families of the deceased. We are in the process of notifying next of kin however we will not be releasing any names until all next of kin have been advised."

Superintendent Rusbatch says a disaster victim identification team is en route to the scene to begin the process of identifying the bodies.

"We also have a number of Police staff who are working with the families of the deceased to provide them with the support they need at this very difficult time."

Police are working with a number of agencies including the Fire Service, the Coroner's office, the Transport Accident and Investigation Commission, Civil Aviation Authority and the Department of Labour, to investigate what has led to this incident this morning.

Further information will be released later today.

Media please note a no fly zone is currently in force and Police will treat any breaches extremely seriously.