Eleven people were killed when a hot air balloon crashed in New Zealand, it is being reported.
Wairarapa District Health Board spokeswoman Jill Stringer said all 11 people on board the scenic flight died when the balloon came down.
The accident happened near show grounds north of the town of Carterton, in rural Wairarapa county, just north of Wellington and a popular area for hot air ballooning.
Police said there was no immediate indication of what caused the early morning tragedy, which occurred in fine weather with minimal wind.
Witnesses told local media of seeing 32-foot (10-metre) high flames rising from the balloon’s basket before it plummeted to the ground.
The crash happened just outside the town of Carterton
Local resident David McKinlay said: “I was watering the garden and heard a noise, the noise of the gas to raise the balloon.
“It was just above the trees when I first saw it … it looked like he (the pilot) tried to raise it a bit higher … all of a sudden there was just 10 metres of flames.”
He told the Stuff news web site: “It was like a rocket coming down – it was just unbelievable.”
Radio New Zealand quoted a cyclist who witnessed the crash reporting the balloon in flames as it descended.