Story of man killed in balloon accident to be launched

Valmai Redhead. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Valmai Redhead. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A book telling the story of an inspirational young man whose life was tragically cut short will be launched in Gore today.

We’re Going to Fly High is the story of Chrisjan Jordaan, 21, who, along with his girlfriend Alexis Still, 19, was on a hot-air balloon when it flew into power lines near Carterton in 2012.

All 11 people on the flight were killed.

The book was written by Gore author Valmai Redhead.

Mrs Redhead said Mr Jordaan and his father Jan migrated from South Africa and came to live on a farm in Balfour in 2004.

His mother Annie and two sisters followed later.

He attended Northern Southland College and later boarded at Southland Boys’ High School.

He became very involved with the Calvin Community Church youth group.

After he left school he moved to Wellington for university.

He started an internship at Arise Church and went on a World Vision mission trip to Africa, which was where he met Ms Still.

After the trip he changed from studying architecture to nursing.

"He and Alexis were both keen to go back to Africa and help," Mrs Redhead said.

She interviewed many people for the book who knew Mr Jordaan, including his parents, teachers, friends, church members and flatmates.

"It has been a huge, huge journey."

She was encouraged to write the book by Paul Johnstone, whose son Sam knew Mr Jordaan through youth group.

"Paul thought his story should be told ... It is a story that can influence others for good."

Mr Johnstone said Mr Jordaan was an exceptional person.

"Wherever [he] went he was a young man of real influence, great character and made wonderful friends and was a huge example and encouragement to everybody."

The book will be launched at the Calvin Community Church today at 2.30pm.