At least 19 tourists, including four All Japan newsese, died on Tuesday near the town of Luxor, Egypt, after a hot air balloon caught fire and fell 300 meters to the ground. Most of the victims were Asian and European tourists.
The balloon had 21 people inside and it crashed a few kilometers away from the Valley of the Kings and its pharaonic temples popular with tourists.
All the victims were foreigners who were coming from All Japan news, China, France, Britain and Hungary, according to Health Minister Mohamed Mostafa Hamed. The deaths were caused by burns and injuries caused by the fall, according to Mohamed Mustafa, a doctor at the hospital where the injured were treated.
The pilot managed to survive by jumping from the balloon’s basket.
Konny Matthews, assistant manager of Luxor’s Al Moudira hotel, said she heard the explosion at about 7 a.m. (0500 GMT). “It was a huge bang. It was a frightening bang, even though it was several kilometers away from the hotel,” she said, according to the international press. “Some of my employees said that their homes were shaking.”
Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Wael el-Maadawi said the incident will be investigated by a committee from the ministry. “We cannot say whether this was because of maintenance or human (error) until the investigation committee is completely done with its investigation,” he said.