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Egyptian Hot Air Balloon Crash Kills 19 Tourists

By Tara MacIsaac
Epoch Times Staff
Created: February 26, 2013 Last Updated: February 27, 2013
Related articles: World » Middle East
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Egyptian paramedics carry the body of a victim of a hot air balloon accident from a morgue at Luxor's International hospital to transfer it to the airport on Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon exploded and plunged to earth at Egypt's ancient temple city of Luxor during a sunrise flight. (Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images)

Egyptian paramedics carry the body of a victim of a hot air balloon accident from a morgue at Luxor's International hospital to transfer it to the airport on Feb. 26, 2013. A hot air balloon exploded and plunged to earth at Egypt's ancient temple city of Luxor during a sunrise flight. (Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images)

A hot air balloon crash in Luxor, Egypt, killed 19 tourists, leaving one tourist and the pilot alive, on Tuesday morning. 

An Egyptian government press release says the balloon was flying at a height of 300 meters (1,000 feet) when “it caught fire and exploded.” 

The Prime Minister Hisham Qandil is discussing with the governor of Luxor, Ezzat Saad, what the repercussions will be. A Civil Aviation Ministry committee is investigating the crash. 

In 2009, when a hot air balloon accident over Luxor injured 16 tourists, the government imposed a six-month ban on the balloons.

The most seriously injured in the 2009 accident told the Telegraph that she had to pull over when she heard the news of another accident this morning while driving. 

“I cannot believe this has happened again,” Linda Lea, a Briton, told the Telegraph Tuesday. “They promised to tighten safety procedures after my crash. … These balloons are just too unstable.”

The 2009 crash occurred when a balloon was swept by a gust into a mobile phone transmission tower.

Some tourists were not discouraged by this accident. In a 2009 forum on Frommers travel website, most comments express hope for a lifting of the ban and an undiluted eagerness to soar above the city. 

Seeing the temples in the early morning light and the people sleeping on the rooftops was an invaluable experience to one traveler. 

Another wrote: “How very sad about the accidents.  I have to say the hot air balloon ride in Luxor was the highlight of my trip so I hope they will get things straight soon.”

None of the 26 passengers were killed in the 2009 crash.

Tuesday’s crash claimed nine tourists from Hong Kong, four from Japan, two from France, a Hungarian, and an Egyptian, the Egyptian health ministry told the BBC. BBC has not confirmed, but reports three other casualties are likely Britons.




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