January 8, 2012 (WELLINGTON, New Zealand) — A hot air balloon carrying 11 people turned into a tower of “sheer flame” Saturday after hitting power lines in a rural area of New Zealand, killing everyone aboard and horrifying residents.
“It’s a tragedy as bad as tragedies get,” local police commander Brent Register said.
It was New Zealand’s deadliest air accident in nearly 50 years. Two of those killed jumped out of the basket in desperation before the fiery balloon hit the ground with a loud bang. It crashed into farmland near the township of Carterton, a region well known for its hot air ballooning. Read the rest of the AP report here.