An Egyptian security official said at least 19 foreign tourists were killed Tuesday when their hot air balloon
crashed near the famed ancient city of Luxor.
According to Egypt's
state-run Nile TV, the casualties included French, British and other nationals.
The official said that the balloon crashed as a result of fire, caused by an apparent engine explosion.
The scene (Photo: AP)
The balloon reportedly plunged from the sky and crashed into sugar cane fields west of Luxor,
which is some 320 miles south of Cairo.
Ahmed Aboud, a spokesman for companies that operate balloon flights in the area said that one tourist and the balloon pilot had survived the accident.
He said the tourists were from a variety of countries but did not immediately have information on their nationalities.
Hot air ballooning at dawn is popular with tourists who go to Luxor to visit its pharaonic temples and the tombs of the Valley of the Kings, including in Tutankhamen's.
Egypt's tourism industry
has suffered a sharp downturn in visitor numbers since the 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, with two years of political instability scaring off foreign tourists.
Egyptian authorities have launched an investigation.
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