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Egypt Balloon Crash Kills 19 Asian, European Tourists

posted 26 Feb 2013, 02:27 by Mpelembe   [ updated 26 Feb 2013, 02:28 ]

Egyptian officials release footage showing ambulances at a site near Luxor where a hot air balloon has crashed, killing 19 tourists.

NEAR LUXOREGYPT (FEBRUARY 26, 2013) (LUXOR GOVERNOR'S OFFICE) - A hot air balloon crashed near the Egyptian town of Luxor at dawn on Tuesday (February 26) after a mid-air gas explosion, killing 19 Asian and European tourists, a local industry official and the state news agency said.

Ahmed Aboud, a spokesman for balloon operators in the area, told Reuters that one tourist and the pilot had survived the crash, which followed the blast at 1,000 feet.

The dead were from Britain, FranceJapan and Hong Kong, the state news agencyMENA reported, citing a security source.

Luxor governor's office released a short video showing rescuers and ambulances at the crash site, which is over the west bank of the Nile river.

Hot air ballooning at dawn is popular with tourists who go to Luxor to visit its pharaonic temples and the tombs of the Valley of the Kings, including in Tutankhamen's.

Egypt's tourism industry has suffered a sharp downturn in visitor numbers since the 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, with two years of political instability scaring off foreign tourists.