|fallen balloon from Stuff.co.nz - moments before striking a power line and catching fire|
Michael Daly at Stuff reports Balloon disaster worst air tragedy since Erebus even though "Ballooning was a safe sport and New Zealand had one of the best safety records in the world."
From Stuff.co.nz, a "36-year-old Carterton farmer was milking a herd of cows on a Somerset Rd farm when he saw the balloon.
He had seen it many times before, but this time it was different. The balloon's height was fluctuating.
Moments later, about 7.25am on Saturday, all hell broke loose.
"It hit these powerlines and it just shorted out and we lost power to the cowshed and it burst into flames," Mr Searle said yesterday describing the crash which killed 11 people.
"The noise from the screams was like something from a movie. It was just crazy.
"It was just screams of horror. I've never ever heard screams like it before. It was from the support crew on the ground and from people in the basket.
"It [the balloon] was on fire, it started going higher with a powerline attached to the top of the basket and it was stretching the wire.
"As the balloon started to go up one guy leapt out. And then about 20 seconds later another one jumped out. I think it was a lady.
"The screaming and the noise ... It was just unreal."
The balloon continued to rise until it snapped the power lines."
My personal emergency recommendations are for those of you taking any future balloon trips: if close to ground and balloon hits power pole and bursts into flames? ... Jump
RIP Carterton balloon passengers and pilot