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Hot air balloon in Egypt catches fire and crashes killing 19 tourists

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Nineteen tourists were killed when a hot air balloon caught on fire and crashed to the ground in Egypt Tuesday.

The hot air balloon was carrying tourists on a sunrise flight over Luxor, an ancient city in Egypt. All of a sudden the hot air balloon started smoking and caught on fire, causing the balloon to fall about 1,000 feet before crashing to the ground, the Washington Post said.

"A farmer watched helplessly as tourists trying to escape the blazing gondola leaped to their deaths," the Washington Post said.

The nineteen tourists that were killed consisted of nine Chinese, four Japanese, two French, one Briton and one Hungarian, said The New York Times said. The only two survivors were a British tourist and the Egyptian pilot, who was badly burned, the Washington Post said.

This appears to be the deadliest hot air balloon accident on record, the Washington Post said. The accident has also led to accusations that authorities have let safety standards slip due to recent political turmoil, the Washington Post said.

The tragedy has raised concern among the nation on the effects it will have on the tourism industry, a vital industry for Egypt, the Washington Post said. The tourism industry had just started to pick up again, after recovering from the nation's unrest from the 2011 revolution, the Washington Post said. The tourism industry had also been greatly affected after the 1997 massacre of 58 tourists by Islamist Militants, The New York Times said.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation and hot air balloon flights have been suspended, said The New York Times and the Washington Post.

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This page contains a single entry by leret004 published on February 26, 2013 9:45 PM.

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