LUXOR – A hot air balloon with 21 tourists on board crashed near Luxor, Egypt, killing 19 of the passengers, according to Nile TV.
NDJ World | Published: Feb 26 2013 Travel
18 of the tourists died instantly. A Brit, who was still alive after the crash, died from his injuries a while later at a hospital.
News reports reveal there were 2 Frenchman, 9 Chinese, 4 Japanese and at least 4 Brits on board the hot air balloon.
The balloon operator, an Egyptian, and one passenger, a Brit, managed to jump out of the balloon’s basket 75 feet above ground. They suffered severe injuries and are resting in critical but stable condition at a nearby hospital, according to news site ‘Al-Ahram’.
On March 19 2007 a similar balloon excursion accident happened in Luxor. No one was killed at that time but 9 tourists were injured during the crash.
On April 10 2008 7 tourists were injured when their hot air balloon crashed.
In February 2009 there were three balloon crashes on the same day, injuring 60 tourists.
On April 25 2009 16 tourist were taken to a hospital after their hot air balloon struck a cell phone signal tower and crashed. That crash caused the Egyptian government to state: “too many”. All hot air balloon flights above Luxor were suspended for six months.
In addition to the crashes listed above there have been many ‘heart pounding experiences’ while flying hot air balloons above Luxor: burners that break in mid-air, too fast descends, hard landing, balloons bumping into each other and more are noted by the hundreds at travel blogs.
American tour operators advice strongly against taking hot air balloon rides above Luxor. Some US agencies say that although the balloon operator has insurance it is limited to just $US3,500 per person.
Several international travel agencies require their customers to sign waivers of liability if they want to participate in a hot air balloon excursion above Luxor.
Today’s crash is still under investigation although it is believe a gas explosion on board the hot air balloon caused the deadly accident. This time the government has forbidden all hot air balloon rights over Luxor until further notice.
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