(Updates with comment from police in fourth paragraph.)
Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) -- All 11 people on board a hot air balloon were killed when it crashed in farmland on New Zealand’s North Island early today, local police said.
The balloon came down near Carterton, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of the capital, Wellington, after a fire started on board, New Zealand police said in an e-mailed statement. The balloon had a pilot and 10 passengers on board and crashed about 7:30 a.m. local time, police said.
Emergency services workers are at the scene while a specialist team is on its way to help identify the bodies. Police declared a no-fly zone around the area and said names of the victims won’t be released until all the next of kin have been notified.
“This is an absolutely tragic incident and our thoughts are with the families of the deceased,” Superintendent Mike Rusbatch said in the statement. “We also have a number of Police staff who are working with the families of the deceased to provide them with the support they need.”
--Editor: Paul Tighe
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