Tourists killed in hot air balloon crash in Egypt
A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing 19 foreign tourists, a security official said.
It was one of the worst accidents involving tourists in Egypt and likely to push the key tourism industry deeper into recession. The casualties included French, British, Japanese nationals and nine tourists from Hong Kong, the official said.
Two survivors of the crash (a tourist and one Egyptian) were taken to a local hospital.
There were 20 passengers aboard. An explosion happened and 19 passengers died, according to officials. The hot air balloon was flying over Luxor when it caught fire, which triggered an explosion in its gas canister, then plunged at least 300 metres from the sky.
An official said foul play has been ruled out.
In Hong Kong, a travel agency said nine of the tourists that were aboard the balloon were natives of the semiautonomous Chinese city. It did not say whether all nine were killed. The information was posted on the agency's website.
In Paris, a diplomatic official said French tourists were among those involved in the accident, but would give no details on how many, or whether French citizens were among those killed.
Hot air ballooning, usually at sunrise over the famed Karnak and Luxor temples as well as the Valley of the Kings, is a popular pastime for tourists visiting Luxor.
The site of the accident has seen past crashes. In 2009, 16 tourists were injured when their balloon struck a cellphone transmission tower. A year earlier, seven tourists were injured in a similar crash.
(The Associated Press)