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Police mark balloon disaster anniversary

08:30 Mon Jan 7 2013

Police have added their condolences to the friends and families of the victims of last year's Carterton ballooning disaster.

They are attending Monday's memorial service to mark the first anniversary of the Wairarapa balloon tragedy.

Eleven people died when a hot air balloon hit power lines, caught fire and crashed to the ground during a scenic flight near Carterton.

A public service is being held in the town on Monday.

"Today we remember the 11 people who lost their lives in this terrible tragedy, which affected the Carterton and wider Wairarapa community so deeply," Wairarapa area commander Inspector Brent Register said in a statement.

"Police and other emergency services personnel were also deeply affected by the tragedy on the 7th of January and today we reflect and remember those who lost their lives on that fateful day."

St Mark's vicar Jenny Chalmers is leading the memorial service and Carterton mayor Ron Mark will speak.

An interim Transport Accident Investigation Commission report into the crash, released in May, said pilot Lance Hopping, 53, had cannabis in his system.

The full report is due to be released mid-year.

The 10 passengers killed in the crash were: Howard Cox, 71, Diana Cox, 63, Desmond Dean, 70, Ann Dean, 65, Denise Dellabarca, 58, Johannes Jordaan, 21, Alexis Still, 19, Stephen Hopkirk, 50, Valerie Bennett, 70, and Belinda Harter, 49.

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