Egypt to ban hot air balloon flights after 19 tourists were killed
The authorities of the province of Luxor in Egypt, where 19 people were killed in a hot air balloon crash, have decided to ban balloon flights in the region, the Times of India reports with reference to AFP. It has not been specified how long the ban will last.
According to most recent information, the crash left three survivors: two tourists and the pilot of the balloon. The latter, an Egyptian national, suffered burns of 70% of the body.
There were 21 people aboard the balloon, including the pilot. Fourteen of them were tourists from Hong Kong. The rest came from Japan, Britain and France. Four people are still unaccounted for - their bodies have not been found yet. According to the Federal Tourism Agency of the Russian Federation, there were no Russians among the passengers.
The incident took place on February 26th. According to eyewitnesses, the balloon fell down on the ground from the height of about 300 meters. People were jumping down from the height of a seven-story building in an attempt to save their lives.
The tragedy occurred as a result of a rupture in a gas hose, through which fuel is supplied to the burner, although the information has not been confirmed officially yet.
This is not the first tragic incident involving tourists flying on hot air balloons in Egypt. In 2008, seven people were hurt in a similar accident. Sixteen people were injured in 2009, when a balloon touched on telephone wires while flying above the ancient Egyptian temple of Luxor.