Connect to share and comment

Egypt: Death toll from hot air balloon crash in Luxor rises to 19 foreign tourists (VIDEO)

Authorities said 19 foreign tourists were killed in a hot air balloon crash in Luxor, Egypt.

balloon crash LuxorEnlarge
Tourist hot air balloons float during dawn across Egypt's Valley of the Kings, near Luxor on November 15, 2007. (CHARLES ONIANS/AFP/Getty Images)

The death toll from Tuesday's hot air balloon crash in the ancient Egyptian city of Luxor has risen to 19 after a British tourist died of his injuries in hospital, CBC News reported. 

Authorities said 21 people were in the balloon when it plummeted almost 1,000 feet near the Nile resort town, apparently after a gas explosion, CNN said, citing EgyNews reports. 

Eighteen tourists were killed immediately, with two British travelers and the balloon's pilot surviving the harrowing crash. One of the Britons later died. 

Luxor's governor has now banned the use of hot air balloons in the province, AFP reported.

More from GlobalPost: Hot air balloons – are they worth the risk?

The deadly accident is another blow to Egypt's tourism industry, which has been hit hard by two years of turmoil in the country. 

Al-Ahram online cited a source at Sky Cruise who said the hose attached to the gas tanks was cut by workers tugging the rope of the balloon during landing.

According to Reuters, Ahmed Aboud, a spokesman for companies that operate balloon flights in the area, said: 

"There were 20 passengers aboard. An explosion happened and 19 passengers died. One tourist and the pilot survived."

According to CNN, the dead included nine tourists from Hong Kong, four from Japan, three from Britain, two from France and one from Hungary.

The BBC cited a witness as saying passengers were jumping out of the balloon as it fell, "from about the height of a seven-story building."

"I saw tourists catching fire and they were jumping from the balloon. They were trying to flee the fire but it was on their bodies," Hassan Abdel-Rasoul, a farmer in al-Dhabaa, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

Luxor has long been a popular spot for hot air ballooning, with visitors coming to see Pharaonic temples and the tombs in the Valley of the Kings, including that of Tutankhamen.

Six Colombians and a British national were injured on February 26, 2008, when their hot air balloons crashed around Luxor.

It's unclear how long the new ban on hot air balloons might last.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/egypt/130226/egypt-hot-air-balloon-crash-tourists-luxor