Current Weather
The Spy FM

Tourist Tragedy In Egypt: Hot Air Balloon Catches Fire; Many Aboard Killed

Filed by KOSU News in World News.
February 26, 2013

The final death toll has not yet been determined, but the number is high. A hot air balloon carrying tourists on a flight over historic sites around the ancient Egyptian city of Luxor caught fire Tuesday. It then plunged to the ground.

NPR’s Leila Fadel reports from Cairo that 19 people may have perished. Al-Jazeera puts the current death toll at 18. According to NBC News, at least 14 people were killed — but another four are said to be missing.

Regardless of the final number, “it was the deadliest hot air balloon accident in the world in at least 20 years,” says CNN. Those killed included tourists from Japan, Britain, Belgium and France, according to news reports.

As for the cause, NBC reports that:

“There were conflicting accounts of what happened.

“[Ahmed Aboud, who runs another balloon company and acts as a spokesman for balloon operators in the area] said that gas tanks caught fire and ignited the balloon at about 1,000 feet.

“But an eyewitness, who did not want to be identified, said the balloon was about 12 feet off the ground when a landing rope was thrown to people on the ground. As they grabbed it, the rope wrapped around a gas container, which broke and a fire then started. The witness estimated the balloon then ‘shot up 500 meters’ (1,640 feet) and the pilot ‘jumped out as it was going up.’ “

According to The Associated Press, “hot air ballooning, usually at sunrise over the famed Karnak and Luxor temples as well as the Valley of the Kings, is a popular pastime for tourists visiting Luxor. The site of the accident has seen past crashes. In 2009, 16 tourists were injured when their balloon struck a cellphone transmission tower. A year earlier, seven tourists were injured in a similar crash.” [Copyright 2013 NPR]

Leave a Reply

5AM to 9AM Morning Edition

Morning Edition

For more than two decades, NPR's Morning Edition has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports.

Listen Live Now!

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

View the program guide!

10AM to 11PM On Point

On Point

On Point unites distinct and provocative voices with passionate discussion as it confronts the stories that are at the center of what is important in the world today. Leaving no perspective unchallenged, On Point digs past the surface and into the core of a subject, exposing each of its real world implications.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center