24 Mar 2012

Balloon company denies forced landing

3:24 pm on 24 March 2012

A Canterbury hot air balloon company denies one of its balloons made an emergency landing on Saturday after a tree branch ripped one of its panels.

The police say about 18 people were on board the hot air balloon that made what they believe was an emergency landing near Christchurch just after 8am.

They say the balloon, operated by the company Balloon Adventures, Up, Up and Away, landed on private property on Downs Road, near Eyrewell Forest.

Police say nobody was injured and they have referred the incident to the Civil Aviation Authority.

An employee for the balloon company, who doesn't want to be named, says there was absolutely no accident and no forced landing.

She says the balloon drifted into a tree branch, which tore one of the balloon's panels, but the tear did not make the balloon unsafe and it landed in the normal way.

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