Jan and Annie Jordaan were never able to meet their son's
"energetic and vibrant" girlfriend, but it's because of the
relationship that they have made a new set of friends - in
The two sets of parents, who had previously never met, both
suddenly lost their children on on January 7 last year when
the hot air balloon Chrisjan and his girlfriend Alexis Still
were going for a joy ride in near Carterton crashed in
flames, killing all 11 on board.
Just two days before the crash, Chrisjan, 21, and Alexis, 19,
had bought tickets to visit Chrisjan's parents in Southland.
It would be the first time he would introduce his girlfriend
to his parents.
"He first didn't tell us about her, but we knew there was
something going on, and they sent me a pic on the cell phone.
[At] Christmas he gave us a photo of them, it was good," Mr
Tomorrow (Monday 7/1) marks a year since the horrific
tragedy, and a public memorial service for all 11 victims
will be held in the morning at Carterton's St Mark's church.
It is not yet known what caused the crash, with a final
report by the Transport Accident Investigation Commission
(TAIC) not due to be released until mid-year.
Mr Jordaan said the past year had gone by "very fast".
"I look back and think he's dead now and they will stay
behind and we will move forward ... all we can do now is try
to carry out what they believed in."
Mrs Jordaan said it did not matter what the TAIC report
"It was an accident, and we'll just get through it, it
She remembered her son being smitten with Alexis.
"We never met her, we never had the privilege of meeting her.
And we are definitely poorer for that, because she did make
such a difference."
Despite never meeting Alexis, the couple have become close to
her parents, Vivienne and Allan Still.
"We have new friends now, because I do understand he
[Chrisjan] said we were quite alike and we would really
really like them, and when we met them, I know what he
means," Mrs Jordaan said.
A private memorial service for Chrisjan and Alexis was held
This morning (Sunday), worshippers at Arise church, where the
couple first met and where both were heavily involved, paid
respects to the youngest of the ballooning victims.
Friend Vicky Andrew, 24, who knew Alexis since school and was
flatting with Chrisjan at the time of the crash, said the
past year had been hard.
"Obviously this whole year has been real hard. The great
thing is we've all been together," she told APNZ.
The pair, who met when they both travelled to Africa on
mission work, were inspirational, Ms Andrew said.
"If they were still here they would change the world."
Alice Young-Drew, 21, also said it was a great loss when her
two friends died. "Sometimes it's still a bit shocking."
Senior Pastor at Arise, John Cameron, told the more than 1000
worshippers today that Chrisjan attacked life with passion.
"He left everything out in the field.
"He was a little bit naughty, but never cruel or uncaring."
Alexis was remembered as "energetic, vibrant and larger than
Alexis' parents attended this morning's church service, but
did not want to comment to media.