25 Mar 2012

CAA investigates balloon landing

7:21 pm on 25 March 2012

The Civil Aviation Authority is to investigate a balloon incident near Christchurch involving 18 people, though the company denies an emergency landing took place.

Police say the balloon made what was believed to be an emergency landing on private property on Downs Road, near Eyrewell Forest, just after 8am on Saturday. None of the 18 passengers was injured.

Civil Aviation Authority spokesperson Emma Peel says the authority is still piecing together the circumstances surrounding the landing.

The ballooning company Up, Up and Away, says the balloon drifted into the branch of a tree and there was never any immediate danger posed to passengers.

It says the flight presented a more challenging landing than normal but its experienced pilot dealt with the situation.

In January, 11 people died when balloon plunged to the ground in flames after hitting power lines near Carterton, in Wairarapa.