A fiery hot air balloon crash in New Zealand Saturday morning killed 11 people, making it the country’s worst aviation accident in more than 30 years. Witnesses said the balloon, carrying five couples and the pilot, was on fire and some reported a 30-foot jet of flame coming from the basket as it came down in farmland near the town of Cartertown, about 50 miles northeast of Wellington on the country’s North Island. Authorities said the balloon hit power lines before it caught fire and caused a brief power outage.
Weather was reported to be ideal for ballooning when the accident occurred about 7:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. The crash victims were reported to be a mix of locals and tourists. The owner of the balloon is well known in the local LTA community. Names have not been officially released.