19 tourists killed in Egypt balloon crash
on 26/02/2013 08:31:35
According to an Egyptian security official, the balloon carrying 21 tourists caught fire, which triggered an explosion in its gas canister, then plunged at least 1,000ft from the sky.
It crashed into a sugar cane field outside al-Dhabaa village just west of the city of Luxor, 320 miles south of Cairo, the official said.
The casualties included French, British, Chinese and Japanese nationals, the official said. Two survivors of the crash were taken to a local hospital with critical injuries.
Hot air ballooning, usually at sunrise over the Karnak and Luxor temples as well as the Valley of the Kings, is a popular pastime for tourists visiting Luxor.
Tourism is one of Egypt's economic pillars and main revenue of foreign currency.
The site of the accident has seen accidents in the past. In 2009, 16 tourists were injured when their balloon stuck a mobile phone transmission. A year earlier, seven tourists were injured in a similar crash.
Today's crash is one of the worst involving tourists in the country already struggling with a decimated tourism industry, two years after the 2011 uprising that ousted former leader Hosni Mubarak.