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11 dead in hot air balloon crash in New Zealand

11 dead in hot air balloon crash in New Zealand

11 people on board a hot air balloon died when it crashed on New Zealand’s North Island Saturday morning, local reports said.

No one survived the crash in Carterton, about 50 miles northeast of the capital, Wellington. Five couples and an experienced pilot were killed when the balloon went up in flames and fell.

Witnesses said the balloon was dropped quickly at about 150 meters from the ground, local reports said. It was not immediately clear what started the fire.

“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,” said Superintendent Mike Rusbatch, Wellington District commander for New Zealand Police.

The weather was likely not a factor in the crash. The weather conditions were good for ballooning, according to Jill Stringer, a spokeswoman for the Wairarapa District Health Board, CNN reported.