Eleven people have been injured after a hot air balloon crashed, broke up and was dragged through power lines in New Zealand’s Queenstown tourist district.
The balloon came down on Morven Ferry Road, just outside of Arrowtown, north of Queenstown, about 10am on Friday (NZST).
Two people were flown to hospital with serious injuries, while nine others were taken by ambulance with moderate and minor injuries.
St John Ambulance territory manager David Baillie said the cause of the crash wasn’t yet known. But the balloon was dragged through the electricity wires and into a house.
One witness told the newspaper she had seen the balloon in the moments before it crashed and thought it was coming down too fast and too low.
“I thought, ‘That’s coming down too fast’ and seemed a little bit in distress,” she said.
It is not yet known if the balloon crashed or made an emergency landing.
Queenstown Lakes mayor Jim Boult told NZ news website Stuff he was told the hot air balloon was landing where intended, but “there was a gust of wind that came through on impact”. He said he had never heard of a similar crash.
“It’s enormously sad that this has happened,” he said.
“On behalf of the rest of the district, I wish them a speedy recovery.”
Readings from NZ weather forecasters MetService suggested a relatively still day, with maximum gusts of 24km/h.
Police, ambulance and fire services are all on the scene, as well as the civil aviation authority and transport accident commission.
Power was cut to about 160 local properties while emergency workers remained at the scene.