A photographer onboard a hot air balloon when it crashed in Otago, dramatically stopping short of a house, says it was bad luck which has not put him off flying in the aircraft.
The Sunrise Balloons trip was hit by a gust of wind shortly before landing off Morven Ferry Rd, near Arrowtown, on Friday morning.
Photographer Rob Pine was onboard the flight capturing the "stunning" rugged Southern Alps from a bird's eye view after a good helping of snow.
"After about an hour it was time to land," he said.
"All lined up. Everything was going according to plan, ready for landing, but as we came in a bit of wind picked up . . ."
Pine is an experienced skydiver with 17,000 logged jumps to his name and knew they were coming in faster than normal.
"I think everybody on board was aware of that as well."
Pine said the pilot had warned passengers it was going to be a fast landing and told them to brace themselves.
Ordinarily there might be a little hop when a hot air balloon lands, Pine said, but this "wasn't going to be a tidy landing".
"Suddenly, the paddock in front of us is coming up. And yeah, boom."
The first impact was slightly rough with momentum causing them to hit the ground again and again in a hopping motion, he said.
On one of those some of the people onboard were flung out, he said.
He said a deer fence halted the balloon as it was looming towards a nearby home.
"That kind of wiped out most of the speed that we had on and that's when we came to a stop," he said.
"The fence saved us from hitting the house for sure."
Pine said the gust of wind had just caught them out as the balloon neared the ground.
"We went up to 7000 feet. There is always a little of wind around, a little bit of a breeze.
"But you know these guys [pilots] are up there every day. They do it year in and year out.
"They know exactly what is going on which is exactly why incidents like this are very rare.
"It was really just bad luck that we just probably landed a little short or lower than anticipated."
Emergency services arrived within minutes, he said.
Two people with serious injuries were airlifted to Dunedin Hospital, while others with lesser injuries were taken to Lakes District Hospital by ambulance.
The two patients in Dunedin Hospital remained in a stable condition early this afternoon, according to a spokesperson.
Pine had managed to stay in the basket throughout the landing, miraculously holding on to his photography gear the entire time.
The rough landing has not put Pine off hot air ballooning.
"I would do it every day if I could," he said.
"It is a magical, wonderful, surreal experience."
The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has opened an inquiry into an incident and is appealing for information from witnesses with a particular interest in hearing from those who may have photographed or captured the flight on video.