The families of the victims of the Carterton ballooning tragedy have been shown photos of their loved ones enjoying the ride before disaster struck.

Photos taken photographer Geoff Walker show the 10 passengers posing in front of the balloon as it was being inflated, as well as images of the group riding in the basket with pilot Lance Hopping.

All 11 were killed when the balloon struck a power line near the Wairarapa town and caught alight.

Carterton reverend Jenny Chalmers told Radio Live she spent time with the families as they were shown the images by police.


"I thought that the photographs were just wonderful. They were technically very, very good, but not only that, it showed the slight apprehension that people feel when they go in the balloons and then pure happiness and joy, just laughter. It was, I felt, a very positive thing to do."

Reverend Chalmers said most of the images showed the passengers posing in front of the balloon.

"My feeling was one of joy and happiness and delight of what was going to happen, and what was happening.

She did not know whether any of the families had been shown the more graphic images, which captured the final moments of the fateful trip.

Reverend Chalmers believed seeing the photos would be positive for the families.

"I didn't ask any of them and they didn't tell me, but I would have thought it was very positive. I think you can tell that they are positive because they have been released for everybody to look at.

"My thinking is it is still very early in the process, so most people are still in quite deep shock. You can see the symptoms of that shock when you talk to them.

"For people who have lost loved ones, their lives have changed forever and adjusting to that change in life is going to take some time."


Reverend Chalmers said many in Carterton are grieving and a special memorial service will be held, particularly for emergency services and those who witnessed the accident

"We're a town of balloon-spotters, if you like. So they were standing there watching the ballooner, some either saw it at the time it collapsed on to the ground, others didn't see it then but waved at the people as they were having so much fun.

"One of the great things about Carterton is it is a small town, we know each other and we will support each other."