Egypt: Balloon crashes near Luxor killing 18 tourists

British, French, Hong Kong and Japanese nationals are among at least 18 tourists killed in a hot air balloon crash near the Egyptian city of Luxor, BBC informs.The balloon was at 300m when it caught fire and plunged onto fields west of Luxor, officials said. At least two people, including the balloon’s pilot, survived, reportedly by jumping out of the balloon before it crashed. British tour operator Thomas Cook confirmed that four of its clients were on board the balloon – two had died and two were in hospital. “We have a very experienced team in resort with the two guests in the local hospital, and we’re providing our full support to the family and friends of the deceased at this difficult time,” Peter Fankhauser, CEO of Thomas Cook UK and Europe, said. The Chinese embassy in Egypt has confirmed that nine Hong Kong tourists died in the balloon crash.Egyptian police have said the other tourists include four from Japan and two from France. At least one Egyptian also died. Earlier reports suggested 19 people had been killed. The crash happened on one of the many dawn hot air balloon flights that give tourists an aerial view of Luxor’s famous sites, such as Karnak temple and the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings.

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