Hot air balloon crash near Carterton kills 11 KIRSTY JOHNSTON AND MARK STEVENS Last updated 10:00 07/01/2012
Police have cordoned off both ends of Somerset Rd, from where fire trucks and police cars can be seen at the site of the crash around 300m up the road.
A nearby resident said the balloon hit powerlines causing power cuts to the local area for about 20 minutes.
Another witness spoke of the harrowing scene.
"The people were enjoying a nice ride and by the looks of it they clipped a power wire.
"They've clipped a power wire and tried to go up then they've sort of gone across the road then its caught fire and they come down in a hell of a hurry.
"I was loooking out the window watching it happen.''
Before the accident he had seen them passing overhead and waved to them.
"Then I heard the screams and looked out the window and heard it coming down. I was having my breakfast and I heard them, they sounded like screams of joy but they weren't.
"It wasn't coming from a great deal of height.
"I ran down the road to see if I could help but by that stage it was too late. it was just burned out. By the time the emergency services got there - there wasn't much of a chance.
''When we got there the farmer said a couple had jumped out and were over in the paddock.
"We went over their to investigate and see if they could help. They continued doing CPR on them until the right people arrived.''
David McKinlay, who lives on the north eastern side of Carterton, has described 10 metre flames bursting from the balloon before it smashed to the ground.
"I was watering the garden and heard a noise, the noise of the gas to raise the balloon. I looked over and I couldn't believe it - one side of the basket was on fire.
"It was just above the trees when I first saw it ... it looked like he tried to raise it a bit higher ... all of a sudden there was just 10 metres of flames.
"It was like a rocket coming down; it was just unbelievable."
McKinlay, who said it was common for balloons to take off from Somerset Rd, likened what he'd seen to a flaming rocket launching.
It believed the balloon was owned by Lance Hopping, of Ballooning NZ. It is not known if he was on board the flight.
Carterton Hot Air Balloon Crash - national | Stuff.co.nz