NEWS
07/01/2012 04:31 GMT

Hot Air Balloon Crash In New Zealand Kills 11

A hot-air balloon crash in New Zealand has killed eleven people after going up in flames.

According to police and witness reports the balloon hit power lines, causing "the whole basket to go up in flames"

Eyewitness Bevan Lambess, told Reuters: "The wicker basket was on fire and I saw something holding it down - it looked like ropes but I got closer and it was actually the top (electric) power line that was holding the basket down."

"It probably still would have been 15m in the air. I slowed down and then the whole basket started to go up in flames."

There were no survivors from the horrifying incident, which occured in Wairarapa, 50 miles from New Zealand's capital Wellington.

Police said two people attempted to jump from the balloon before it hit the ground.

Superintendent Mike Rusbatch called the incident a "tragedy" for everyone involved and their families: "There were five couples on board along with the pilot".

The BBC reports the incident is New Zealand's worst air tragedy since 1979.