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Hot air balloon carrying 20 tourists crashes in Egypt

A hot air balloon carrying 20 tourists crashed in the Egyptian town of Luxor on Tuesday, killing at least 19

Reuters, Tuesday 26 Feb 2013
balloon
Hot air balloon flies over Luxor, Egypt, November 2012 (Photo: AP)
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A hot air balloon crashed near the Egyptian town of Luxor at dawn on Tuesday after a mid-air gas explosion, killing 19 Asian and European tourists, a local industry official and the state news agency said.

Ahmed Aboud, a spokesman for balloon operators in the area, told Reuters that one tourist and the pilot had survived the crash, which followed the blast at 1,000 feet (300 metres).
The dead were from Britain, France, Japan and Hong Kong, the state news agency MENA reported, citing a security source.

"There were 20 passengers aboard. An explosion happened and 19 passengers died. One tourist and the pilot survived," he said by telephone. Aboud is the representative of eight companies that operate balloon flights in Luxor, near ancient Egyptian sites in the famed Valley of the Kings.

Konny Matthews, assistant manager of Luxor's Al Moudira hotel, said she heard a boom around 7 am (0500 GMT). "It was a huge bang. It was a frightening bang, even though it was several kilometres away from the hotel," she said by phone. "Some of my employees said that their homes were shaking."

The accident happened over the west bank of the Nile river. Hot air ballooning at dawn is popular with tourists who go to Luxor to visit its pharaonic temples and the tombs of the Valley of the Kings, including in Tutankhamen's.

Egypt's tourism industry has suffered a sharp downturn in visitor numbers since the 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, with two years of political instability scaring off foreign tourists.

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Ed Frias
26-02-2013 11:19pm
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Egypt tourism
This is a disaster for Egyptian tourism.
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Sam Enslow
26-02-2013 10:09am
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What's Important
I feel very sorry for the losses suffered by the families of tourists who ventured to Egypt during these difficult times to enjoy "the trip of a lifetime" only to have that adventure end in their deaths. But this is what happens when a government is more intereted in arresting a few boys making fools of themselves dancing in their underwear than in the protection of its people and guests. How many must die in diving accidents, hot air balloons, car crashes, etc. before this becomes a real concern of the government?
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Ali
26-02-2013 01:57pm
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Take you medics
What has the government to do with it? I mean honestly. What is your problem. Should morsi control every Balloon himself. This kind of accidents happens in my country germany too. And even train accidents happens. And nobody asks my chancellor Merkel to resign. Since the opposition don`t want to make fools of themselves in the eyes of the public.
TH
26-02-2013 12:28pm
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Shame on you Sam
Not sure who you are or what your agenda is Sam you are out of line. Accidents happen everywhere and this was just that, an unfortunate accident. We should think of families who lost loved ones. Now is not time to turn to political debates. And reprimands. I am dead against Morsi, his government and the Moslem Brotherhood but now is not the time. May God have pity on the souls of those that passed.
gehad
26-02-2013 12:25pm
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Why not blame the government for Ramses II's death?
I find it simply preposterous to blame the government for every accident that happens in Egypt as if the government had power ovelife and death.
mo
26-02-2013 12:24pm
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stop it
very tragic event. but please dont be a fool and blame new govt. morsi had no control of the balloons. day by day the opposiotion to morsi are looking rmore ridulous
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