Two people left seriously injured and another nine treated at the scene after a hot air balloon crash
- Two people were seriously injured in hot air balloon crash in New Zealand
- Incident unfolded in Arrowtown in Otago, just before 10am on Friday morning
- Experienced pilot Carrick McLellan was treated for moderate injuries after crash
Two people were seriously injured with another nine treated by paramedics after a hot air balloon crash in New Zealand.
The incident unfolded in Arrowtown in Otago, on the shores of South Island’s Lake Wakatipu, just before 10am on Friday morning.
Experienced balloon pilot Carrick McLellan was treated at Lakes District Hospital for moderate injuries following the crash and was later released.
‘On approach, the balloon was caught by a sudden wind gust and the basket containing passengers impacted with a low bank,’ a statement from Sunrise Balloons read.
‘The balloon basket came to rest alongside a fence and trees near a property driveway.
‘In the immediate aftermath of the incident, some balloon fabric became draped over a subsidiary power line to the house.’
Rescue crews tend to victims in a hot air balloon crash near Arrowtown, New Zealand on Friday morning
The balloon crashed as it was about to land on Friday in New Zealand, injuring all 11 people on board, including two passengers who suffered serious injuries
Experienced balloon pilot Carrick McLellan was treated at Lakes District Hospital for moderate injuries following the crash in New Zealand on Friday morning
It is believed all 11 passengers were New Zealand residents, with the two seriously injured people on board the basket airlifted to Dunedin Hospital.
Sunrise Balloons owner and chief pilot Hugh McLellan said the company was ‘deeply upset’ about the incident.
‘We are fully supporting our staff and guests at this difficult time, and we wish all involved a full and speedy recovery,’ he told stuff.co.nz.
‘An internal investigation is under way, and we are working closely with all relevant authorities.’
Queenstown Lakes mayor Jim Boult said it was the first crash in the area that he was aware of.
‘It’s enormously sad that this has happened,’ he said. ‘On behalf of the rest of the district, I wish them (all) a speedy recovery.’
Operating flights at dawn seven days a week, Sunrise Balloons offer passengers a three to four-hour experience in the air.
The flights take in scenic views of Coronet Peak and The Remarkables ski areas, as well as Mount Aspiring in the Southern Alps and Mount Tutoko in Fiordland National Park.
Sunrise Balloons have operated in the region for 23 years without incident, according to a company representative.
The company have since suspended further flights and are cooperating with police and aviation authorities, who are investigating the incident.
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