A general view shows the hot air balloon (top-R) that exploded and plunged to earth, amongst other balloons leaving a launch site near Egypt's ancient temple city of Luxor, prior to the incident on February 26, 2013. - AFP Photo
CAIRO – 5 January 2018: A 34-year South African male tourist died at the scene in a hot air balloon crash in Luxor, southern Egypt, on Friday.
The Health Ministry revealed that the casualty of today’s crash had resulted in one dead and 12 injured from several nationalities including French, South African and Australian.
Initial reports stated that the hot air balloon failed to land successfully due to the bad weather conditions in Luxor and other Egyptian cities since Wednesday.
The Civil Aviation issued astatement stating that the balloon crash took place at 7:30 a.m. and confirmed that the concerned authorities begun investigating the incident immediately after the accident.
21 trips landed successfully without any recorded complaint, according to the statement.
Hot air ballooning was suspended in Luxor for several months after the death of 19 Asian tourists in 2013 in a balloon accident. However, Egypt has recently seen an influx of Asian tourists and many of those tourists decided to visit Luxor again and go for balloon trips.
Hot air balloon flight activity in Luxor was also suspended for about a month in 2009 during Brigadier General Ahmad Shafik’s time as the Minister of Civil Aviation. The suspension came as a result of the ministry’s realization that the balloon flight program was not honest with regards to the “approach zones” to the Luxor Airport. The Civil Aviation Authority believed that hot air balloons were undermining safety guidelines and measures to ensure the safe landing and takeoff of airplanes. After the rectification of the “approach zones”, hot air balloon flights resumed their activity.
Hot air ballooning is an extremely popular pastime for tourists visiting Egypt. The tour allows tourists to oversee the green fields on both sides of the Nile, and the sunrise over Karnak and Katchibsut temples, as well as the beautiful city.
“Between 12 and 18 hot air balloon trips are conducted daily in Luxor,” Egypt’s Hot Air Balloon Union told media outlets in May 2017.
There are eight companies that organize hot air balloon flights in Luxor. They arrange these flights for tourists and they are subjected to strict security measures.
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