Investigations continue in balloon crash

Sunday 8 January 2012, 12:13PM
By New Zealand Police


Police and partner agencies are continuing their investigations into the fatal hot air balloon crash in Somerset Road, Carterton yesterday morning.

Wairarapa Area Commander Inspector Brent Register says Police Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) and Specialist Search Group (SSG) members remain at the scene of the crash today, alongside New Zealand Fire Service personnel.

"Last night, two of the eleven bodies were removed from the scene. We are working towards removing the bodies of the other nine victims over the course of the afternoon."

Inspector Register says support is continuing to be provided to the families of the victims, as they come to terms with the loss of their loved ones as a result of this tragedy. Some families have also visited the scene of the crash with Police staff.

"We are still working with Next of Kin this morning and hope to be able to release a complete list of those believed to be deceased later this afternoon."

Inspector Register says the DVI process to formally identify all of the eleven victims will take several days to complete.

"We are continuing to work with our partner agencies, the Transport Accident Investigation Commission, Civil Aviation Authority, the New Zealand Fire Service, Department of Labour, the Coroner's office and Victim Support, to ascertain how this fatal crash occurred."

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission's enquiry will determine the cause of the crash. The CAA is looking at occupational safety and health and regulatory matters. The NZ Fire Service is providing expertise to the investigations. Victim Support are assisting the Police Family Liaison Team and providing assistance to the families of the deceased. The Police DVI Team is supporting the Coroner, who will confirm identity and cause of death of the deceased.

Inspector Register says eye witnesses have been formally interviewed and Police are now working with partner agencies to share information which will aid in the investigation.

"This is not a quick process and will take some time to complete, to ensure we complete a thorough investigation into how this tragedy occurred and ensure incidents of this nature do not reoccur in the future."