Report – Luxor Balloon Crash Kills 18

egyptA balloon crash in Luxor, Egypt has killed at least 18 people, including tourists from Japan, China, France, Britain and Hungary, Reuters reports.

The governor of Luxor has ordered a halt to all ballooning, and the civil aviation minister has dispatched a committee from the industry to investigate the incident.

Dawn ballooning is a popular tourist activity in Egypt, although visitor numbers have fallen since the 2011 revolution that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak and two years of political instability. In 2010, 14.7 million visitors traveled to Egypt, but in 2011 that number fell to just 9.8 million.

The balloon crashed in a field a few miles from the Valley of the Kings. Ahmed Aboud, head of an association that represents Luxor balloon operators, said the mid-air gas explosion that caused the crash happened in the pipe linking the gas canisters to the burner, and that it was accidental. The balloon’s pilot survived by jumping from the basket when it was still approximately 12 yards from the ground.

Read the Reuters story here, and keep visiting for further updates on this developing story.

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