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Egypt suspends balloon flights after Luxor crash

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 09:36

Zeenews Bureau

Cairo: The authorities in Egypt have suspended all hot air balloon flights near Luxor after a deadly hot air balloon crash killed at least 19 people yesterday.

Meanwhile, the authorities have also begun an investigation to probe the likely causes of the hot air balloon crash.

Hong Kong, Japanese, British, French and Hungarian nationals were among those killed on Tuesday morning.

A landing rope is reported to have got caught around a helium gas tube and severed it, after which a fire erupted and the balloon shot up into the air.

It then plunged some 300m (1,000ft) to the ground in a field west of the city.

An Egyptian security official said that 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.
It was one of the worst crashes involving tourists in the country already struggling with a decimated tourism industry. Two survivors of the crash were taken to a local hospital with critical injuries.

Bodies of the slain tourists were scattered across the field around the remnants of the balloon.

Hot air ballooning, usually at sunrise over the Karnak and Luxor temples as well as the Valley of the Kings, is a popular pastime for tourists visiting Luxor.

Tourism is one of Egypt`s economic pillars and main revenue of foreign currency.

The site of the accident has seen accidents in the past. In 2009, 16 tourists were injured when their balloon stuck a cellphone transmission. A year earlier, seven tourists were injured in a similar crash.

With Agency Inputs

First Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 09:36
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