Service for balloon victims

By, Nathan Crombie

A public memorial will be held on Monday for the victims of the hot air balloon tragedy near Carterton on January 7 last year.

St Marks vicar Jenny Chalmers is to lead the memorial service at the High St South church from 10am on Monday.

She said Carterton Mayor Ron Mark was to speak at the service and candles would be lit in memory of the 11 people who died in the balloon tragedy.

"We are all in a bit of a holding pattern until the results of the [crash] inquiry come out and the service will be very low-key, quiet and reflective," she said.

Thanks and prayers are to be offered at the service for volunteers, police, ambulance and firefighters, victim support, investigation team members, and forensic and medical personnel who worked at the crash site and tended to witnesses and family and friends of the victims.

Prayers also will be offered up for the families and friends of those who died, as they grieve, and for continued compassion from the community and "all those who have experienced this trauma that we may begin to find healing and hope".

The balloon crash occurred early on Saturday, January 7, 2012, when a hot air balloon piloted by Lance Hopping caught fire and crashed to the ground near Somerset Rd, Clareville. All 11 people on board were killed.

An investigation by the Transport Accident Investigation Authority (TAIC) into the cause of the crash has not yet been completed.

Mrs Chalmers said all were welcome to attend the memorial service on Monday.

A public service would also be held in Wellington tomorrow for the two youngest victims, Chrisjan Jordann, 21, and Alexis Still, 19, during the 10am service of Arise Church at the Michael Fowler Centre. "We will also be remembering the other victims and their families," Pastor John Cameron said.See Monday's edition for more on the anniversary of the balloon tragedy.


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