than a dozen foreign tourists have been killed Tuesday as their hot air
balloon crashed near the ancient Egyptian city of Luxor, a security
official in Egypt told the Associated Press.
The casualties included French, British, Chinese and Japanese nationals. No Americans are thought to be involved.
reported that passengers in the balloon included 19 foreign tourists:
nine from Hong Kong; four from Japan; two from Belgium; two from Britain
and two from France. CNN cited Luxor province Gov. Izzat Saad, who was speaking on Nile TV.
The AP said that 18 were killed. Egypt's health ministry told the BBC that 14 people have been killed.
were 20 passengers aboard. An explosion happened and 19 passengers
died. One tourist and the pilot survived," Ahmed Aboud, a spokesman for
companies that operate balloon flights in the area, told Reuters news
The Egyptian official, who spoke on condition of
anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to the media, said 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
about 320 miles south of Cairo.
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.
In a statement following a hot
air balloon accident last year in New Zealand that killed 11, Carl
Holden, an air safety expert said, "People have been flying hot air
balloons safely, since 1783 to be exact, long before the Wright
Brother's first successful powered flight in 1903.
air balloon is the oldest successful human-carrying flight technology.
Every year there are thousands of hot air balloon flights around the
world without incident."
The Federal Aviation Administration
regulates the use of hot air balloons in the USA. According to a
preliminary search of the National Transportation Safety Board's
aviation accident database, there have been 67 fatal incidents across
America involving hot air balloons since 1964.
industry has been decimated since the 18-day uprising in 2011 against
autocrat leader Hosni Mubarak and the political turmoil that followed
and continues to this day.
Luxor's hotels are currently about 25% full in what is supposed to be the peak of the winter season.
Contributing: Kim Hjelmgaard in London; Associated Press