Video shows deadly crash of Egypt’s tourist air balloon

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A new video published online Wednesday showed the crash of a hot air balloon near the ancient Egyptian town of Luxor after a mid-air gas explosion.

At least 19 people, most of them Asian and European tourists, died. The balloon came down in farmland a few kilometers (miles) from the Valley of the Kings and pharaonic temples popular with tourists.

The death toll surpassed what was believed by ballooning experts to be the deadliest accident in the sport's 200-year history: In 1989, 13 people were killed when their hot air balloon collided with another over the Australian outback near the town of Alice Springs.

The balloon over Luxor, 510 kilometers (320 miles) south of Cairo, was carrying tourists from France, Britain, Belgium, Japan and Hong Kong plus an Egyptian pilot.

An airport official, who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said relatives of nine tourists from Hong Kong arrived in Cairo to identify the bodies of the victims.

The bodies of all the victims were moved on Tuesday to morgues in Cairo. The two survivors were being treated in military hospitals.

According to initial reports, the balloon was in the process of landing after 7 a.m. when a cable got caught around a gas tube and a fire erupted. The balloon plummeted about 1,000 feet to the ground, crashing in a sugar cane field. The bodies of the tourists were scattered across the field around remnants of the balloon.

Authorities suspended hot air balloon flights, a popular tourist attraction here, while investigators determined the cause of the accident.

The tragedy raised worries of another blow to the nation's vital tourism industry, decimated by two years of unrest since the 2011 revolution that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak. The southern city of Luxor has been hit hard, with vacant hotel rooms and empty cruise ships.

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