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Egyptian prosecution opens investigation into air balloon accident

Egypt's prosecutor-general dispatches a team to investigate the hot air balloon accident in Luxor, as tourism chief blames ministry of civil aviation

Dalia Farouk, Ahram Online, Tuesday 26 Feb 2013
Views: 1905
balloon 1
Rescue officials at the site of the hot air balloon wreckage near Luxor. (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's prosecutor-general Talaat Abdallah has launched an investigation into the hot air balloon accident that left 18 people dead in Luxor on Tuesday.

A team of prosecutors arrived in Luxor to look into the case on Tuesday afternoon, and visited the morgue in Luxor International Hospital.

The Egyptian ministry of tourism said in a statement on Tuesday morning that it had formed a committee to follow developments and determine the cause of the accident.

Tourism minister Hisham Zazou, who is currently in Tehran, said that "those proven responsible for the accident will receive severe punishment", according to the statement.
A technical committee from the ministry of civil aviation has also arrived at the site of the accident.

In addition, Luxor's governor Ezzat Saad said that he received phone calls from President Mohamed Morsi and Prime Minister Hisham Qandil, checking on the situation.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the chamber of tourism companies in Luxor, Tharwat El-Agami, held the ministry of civil aviation responsible for the accident.

He said that it is the ministry's duty to implement measures for preventing air balloon accidents and to ensure that they are safe to fly.

The last hot air balloon accident in Luxor, which left 16 people injured in 2009, led to a halt in all air balloon activity for six months until security measures were implemented. 

Other accidents took place in 2007 and 2008, but did not cause deaths. 

Egypt's ministry of health said that 18 people were killed on Tuesday morning, including 17 tourists and one Egyptian woman, when a hot-air balloon exploded in mid-air near Luxor, Upper Egypt. Reports by other news agencies said that 19 people had died.

According to the ministry of health, three people, including the balloon's pilot, were sent to Cairo for medical treatment. 

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26-02-2013 06:40pm
No wonder
How many "nearly accidents" happened in the past, because the pilots use to drive their balloons like the crazy drivers drive their cars in the streets? Half a meter over the houses, 10 cm over electric lines, landing 5 m beside a big petrol station or 1 m beside the Nile, crashing into trees and so on... I saw all this many many times. I spoke with the chairman of the Luxor balloon companies, asked him to remind the pilots to leave this crazy things and to act more responsible. The "maintainance" of the balloons also is not worth this name, gasbottles thrown from the trucks like stones, this and other eqipment lying in the sun without any shelter, the ground crews (and maybe the pilots) lack qualification with international standard... How many ground crew members died or got badly injured in accidents the last years? But they of course got no big press like those tourists now... Shame!
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26-02-2013 10:18pm
mates,if you dont understand a safe system,but want to get the easy bucks from the tourists,try to learn your way to knowledge oir better get your hands out altogether and let the khuffar do the business,because then its safe...this tragedy only shows one thing,egyptians read the cover of a book,if so,but dont understand anything inside the book

Aladdin, Egypt
26-02-2013 04:00pm
Half-Baked Ideas
Like anything else done in Egypt is not regulated or based on technology. Wkae, wake, wake, .... Who appoved the balloon flight and who hire the operator? In this desert-river climate there are rising and doening air draft ignorant Egypotians. Shame on you all.
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26-02-2013 03:25pm
Health & Safety
I live in Egypt and work in tourism since 15 years. I not gonna brag about service, quality and customer approach as it's exist on lowest level (with all the respect to international chains of hotels where they try implement it). What I would like to point is TOTAL ABSENCE OF HEALTH & SAFETY REGULATIONS in any place (regardless if its touristic or not) or if they exist, no one respects it.
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