EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Breaking News

World/National News

February 26, 2013

Balloon crash in Egypt's Luxor kills 19 tourists

LUXOR, Egypt (AP) — A hot air balloon carrying tourists over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire Tuesday, and some passengers trying to escape the flames leaped to their deaths before the craft crashed in a sugar cane field. At least 19 tourists were killed in one of the world's deadliest ballooning accidents.

The accident was a new blow to Egypt's tourism industry, which has been gutted by the country's turmoil the past two years. The southern city of Luxor, site of some of the most dramatic pharaonic temples, has been particularly hard hit, with empty hotels worsening the area's poverty.

After the early morning crash, authorities suspended hot air balloon flights, a popular tourist attraction here, while investigators worked to determine the cause. The crash raised accusations that authorities have let safety standards fall amid the political instability since the 2011 fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak — though the civil aviation chief insisted his ministry keeps stringent inspections of balloons.

The balloon was carrying 20 tourists — from France, Britain, Belgium, Hungary, Japan and Hong Kong — and an Egyptian pilot on a sunrise flight over Luxor, officials said.

According to initial indications, it was in the process of landing after 7 a.m. when a landing cable got caught around a helium tube and a fire erupted, according to an investigator with the state prosecutor's office.

The balloon then shot up in the air, the investigator said. The fire set off an explosion of a gas canister and the balloon plunged some 300 meters (1,000 feet) to the ground, according to an Egyptian security official. It crashed in a sugar cane field outside al-Dhabaa village just west of Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, the official said.

The official and the investigator spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
World/National News

Latest U.S. News
Obama: 'Blood of Africa Runs Through My Veins' Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Air Force: Stowaway Triggers Security Review Minnesota Fire Engulfs Home, Two Garages Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Officials Unsure of UCLA Flood Repair Date At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Jury Awards Ventura $1.8M in Defamation Case
Latest World News
Raw: 16 Killed in Gaza Market Strike Raw: Guinea Rap Concert Stampede Kills 33+ Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Graphic Video: 15 Killed at Gaza UN School Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Floodwaters Ravage Villages in Romania Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Today in History for July 30th Raw: Aftermath, Artillery Shells Hit Donetsk Muslims Celebrate Eid El-Fitr Around the World Gaza Official: at Least 100 Killed Tuesday Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre Raw: Earthquake Rocks Mexico's Gulf Coast
Photos of the Week