The headline tells us that 11 people died in a hot air balloon accident accident near Carterton.
Behind that headline are the humans – the 11 people whose lives have been cut short; their families, friends and workmates; the people who witnessed the horror; the people in the emergency services who had to deal with the immediate aftermath; the people who reported the story; the people who will be involved in identifying the dead . . .
Those closest to the dead will already know who they are and the names will be passed to their wider circles. The rest of us will have to wait for official announcements and such are the few degrees of separation in New Zealand it is probable that we will know at least one of them, or know someone who knows them.
Last year was a tough one for so many. This one has started with a high holiday road toll, drownings, murder and now this tragic accident to remind us yet again that life is fatal and that none of us is an island.