Luxor. – What began as a holiday excursion ended in an unexpected tragedy. Yesterday, 19 foreign tourists and a local guide were killed by the explosion of a balloon at 300 feet high, when flying over the valley of Luxor, in Egypt.
After the accident, the governor of Luxor ruled that it was a terrorist act, but banned indefinitely balloon flights in the region, a typical tourist excursion in this town on the River Nile
The balloon, with 21 people aboard, flew over yesterday morning the city of Luxor, located about 700 kilometers from Cairo and famous for its pharaonic temples and tombs in the Valley of the Kings, including Tut.
Local sources reported that at the time of the burst the balloon was in the landing phase, while stated that the accident was caused by a bad maneuver the pilot, who survived and is hospitalized.
Among those killed are nine Chinese tourists, four Japanese, two French, two Britons and a Hungarian. Egyptian guide was also killed. The pilot and two British tourists were able to jump out of the balloon in flames and were taken to hospital with serious injuries to Luxor, where one of the Britons died later.
“Passengers leaped into the role as packages in flames,” said the pilot of another balloon that he witnessed the incident.
Employees Sky Cruise operator, where tourists had hired the tour, said the accident was due to breakage, shortly before landing, a hose connected to the gas tanks. The explosion of these tanks had fired the balloon climbed to a height of 400 meters. Then, the top of the balloon burst was precipitated and ground nacelle.
According to preliminary investigations, a cable would have damaged during the landing maneuver the hose by the flowing gas, which caused the fire.
The balloon landed on a sugar cane plantation on the west bank of the Nile, where many of the historic sites.
Authorities said after the relief operations were very difficult because the remains were scattered balloon between crops, which also caught fire. In addition, the charred bodies also hampered the identification work.
Meanwhile, Luxor authorities have announced that an investigation to determine the causes of the accident…….