Egypt suspends balloon flights after 19 people were killed in crash

By Robert Kirchgassner,

The Egyptian government has suspended hot air balloon flights following a crash near Luxor which killed 19 tourists Tuesday.

BBC reported that the crash occurred when a rope on the balloon severed a helium gas tube, which led to a fire that resulted in the balloon plunging over 1,000 feet to the ground.

Only the pilot and one passenger survived after jumping from the basket while the balloon was falling and were quickly taken to a hospital.

The victims were tourists from Hong Kong, Japan, Britain, France and Hungary.
"I would like to offer my condolences,” said Luxor Governor Ezzat Saad.

The balloon rides have long been a popular method for tourists to see the sites in Egypt.

Prime Minister Hesham Qandeel has ordered an investigation for the crash.

"We cannot say whether this was because of maintenance or human [error] until the investigation committee is completely done with its investigation," said Civil Aviation Minister Wael al-Maadawi.

According to Australia's ABC, sources stated that the balloon was overcrowded.

"This is terrible, just terrible," an anonymous employee from Sky Cruise, the company which operates the balloon rides, said. "We don't yet know what happened exactly or what went wrong."

 
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