Egypt hot air balloon crash kills 19 tourists


Reuters and AP, 26-02-2013 12:37:25


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There was a fire followed by an explosion and the balloon plunged from the sky

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A hot air balloon crashed near the Egyptian town of Luxor on Tuesday, killing 19 tourists who were aboard, a spokesman for companies that operate balloon flights in the area told Reuters.

Ahmed Aboud added that one tourist and the balloon pilot had survived the accident, which happened after a gas explosion at 1,000 feet (300 metres). He said the tourists were from different countries but did not immediately have information on their nationalities.

"There were 20 passengers aboard. An explosion occurred and 19 passengers died. One tourist and the pilot survived," he said by telephone. Aboud is the representative of eight companies that operate balloons in Luxor.

The casualties included French, British and other nationals, reported Associated Press.

A security official said there was a fire and an explosion and that the balloon then plunged from the sky and crashed into sugar cane fields west of Luxor on Tuesday. Luxor is 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to the media.

An Associated Press reporter at the crash site says he counted eight bodies as they were put into body bags and taken away.

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