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Hot air balloon crash kills 11 in New Zealand.

Summary: A hot air balloon has crashed after bursting into flames in New Zealand, killing all 11 people on board.

A hot air balloon has crashed after bursting into flames in New Zealand, killing all 11 people on board in the country's worst air accident in more than thirty years.

Police said the balloon appeared to have clipped powerlines and caught fire before crashing into farmland near Carterton, about 50 miles northeast of Wellington on the country's North Island.

The accident occurred just before 7.30am on Saturday in calm, clear weather in a region well known for hot air ballooning.

"I couldn't believe what I was seeing. There were flames licking up the side of the basket, right up the guy-ropes," David McKinlay told reporters.

When the flames reached the canopy, the balloon plunged to the ground, he added.

Other witnesses reported hearing screams and seeing smoke and flames trailing from the balloon before it hit the ground.

Police, who have cordoned off the crash site, are not releasing the names of the victims until next-of-kin have been informed.

Independent Television News Limited 2011. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2012. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:Jan 7, 2012
Words:204
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