Egypt prosecution orders detention of hot air balloon pilot, 3 company officials over deadly Luxor crash

Ahram Online , Saturday 6 Jan 2018

File Phot: Hot air balloons during a ride over the ancient city of Luxor. (Photo: AFP)

A Luxor prosecution ordered on Saturday the four-day detention pending investigation of the pilot – as well as three officials from a hot air balloon company – who was operating a hot air balloon that crashed on Friday, killing a 36-year-old South African tourist and injuring 15 others.

The prosecution issued the detention order after hearing the testimony of the operating company's officials, other hot air balloon pilots, the injured passengers and eyewitnesses.

Shortly following the crash, Egypt’s civil aviation ministry said the balloon, which was operating along with 22 other balloons owned by different operators, deviated from its designated path and crashed with the tourists on board.

The ministry said that the other balloons, which were carrying over 400 passengers, all landed safely.

Egypt witnessed on Friday nationwide dust storms.

A statement from Luxor governorate after the crash attributed the accident to bad weather.

Earlier on Friday, the governorate had closed all desert roads connecting Luxor with other governorates due to dusty wind.

However, it is unclear if the unstable weather conditions were behind the crash.

The civil aviation ministry has formed a technical committee to investigate the incident.

Hot air balloon companies operate daily flights throughout the year in Luxor. 

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