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No survivors in NZ balloon crash

Victims' families and Carterton residents were in shock after a hot air balloon burst into flames and crashed in New Zealand. All eleven people on board including the pilot were killed. (SOUNDBITE) WITNESS DAVID McKINLEY SAYING(English): "It was just flames and it was just a long streak probably about 10 metres of flame as it was hurling towards the ground. The impact must have been terrible. I was unbelievably shocked when I saw it. Especially to think that I'd been up that balloon myself." Local television reported some family members were watching when the accident occurred. One eye witness described how they called out to her for help. (SOUNDBITE) EYEWITNESS JACQUI O'CONNOR SAYING(English): "They were saying come now. Mum and dad have been in a balloon accident, it's burst into flames and they are dead." Police said the balloon appeared to have clipped powerlines before it caught fire and went down in farmland, 50 miles northeast of Wellington. (SOUNDBITE) POLICE INSPECTOR BRENT REGISTER SAYING(English): "As the balloon was preparing to land it's hit the power lines causing sparking in the basket and a fire. At this point two passengers believe to be a male and a female appear to have jumped out of the basket. The balloon then made a sharp decent, the fires ignited on board and this has caused the balloon to plummet to a paddock 200 metres away on Somerset Road." Police said they were still in the process of identifying the 11 people killed and notifying their next of kin. The pilot, named in the media as Lance Hopping, had been flying balloons in the region for over 16 years. Some of the victims had been given the tickets as a Christmas gift. After the balloon ride the group were to sit down to a champagne breakfast in a cafe in town. It was now closed out of respect. This accident was New Zealand's worst air disaster in over three decades. Marie-Claire Fennessy, Reuters

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