Africa

Relatives identify Egypt balloon crash victims

AFP, Sapa-AP

Relatives of some of the western and Asian tourists killed in a balloon accident have arrived in Egypt to identify the bodies of the victims.

Ezat Saad, Governor of the ancient temple city of Luxor (left) and Japanese Okumura Hatsuko (right bottom) director of the Japanese division in an Egyptian travel agency lay flowers in the site of a hot air balloon accident. (AFP)

Nineteen tourists died on Tuesday when the hot air balloon they were riding caught fire and plummeted about 1 000 feet to the ground in the ancient city of Luxor in southern Egypt.

One British tourist survived along with the pilot of the balloon, who was badly injured.

An airport official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, says relatives of nine tourists from Hong Kong arrived in Cairo on Wednesday to identify the bodies of the victims.

The balloon exploded and plunged to earth at Egypt's ancient temple city of Luxor on Tuesday. Nineteen tourists, including Asians and Europeans, have been killed, sources said.

The balloon carrying 21 people was flying at 300m when it caught fire, a security official said. Security services cordoned off the scene of the crash in Luxor's dense sugar cane fields, as police and residents inspected the charred remains of the balloon.

The balloon had been floating over the west bank of Luxor, one of Egypt's most renowned archaeological sites and home to the famous Valley of the Kings and the grand Temple of Hatshepsut, when it exploded.

Luxor Governor Ezzat Saad imposed an immediate ban on all hot air balloon flights in the province as Prime Minister Hesham Qandeel ordered an investigation into the accident. – Sapa-AP, AFP

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