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Brits among air balloon crash dead

By citizenmike  |  Posted: February 26, 2013

Karnak Temple is one of the sights from the balloon rides

Karnak Temple is one of the sights from the balloon rides

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British tourists are among the dead in this morning's hot air balloon crash near in Egypt.

Nineteen people died in the balloon which was flying at 1,000 ft (300m) near the southern Egyptian city of Luxor.

It caught fire mid-air and exploded, plunging onto fields west of Luxor, say officials.

Two people, including the balloon's pilot, reportedly survived the crash.

The balloon rides enjoy panoramic views of the Upper Nile region and are popular with tourists.

Luxor lies on the banks of the River Nile and is home to some of Egypt's most famous ruins such as Karnak temple and the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings.

Simon Calder, travel editor for The Independent, said: "A spokesperson for eight companies who organise hot air balloon trips in Luxor said there was a trip that left early this morning.

"There appears to be a gas explosion at 1,000 feet and the affect of that has been to make the balloon crash."

Ahmed Aboud, a representative of balloon firms in Luxor, said: "There were 20 passengers aboard. An explosion happened and 19 passengers died. One tourist and the pilot survived."

The British foreign office said it was making urgent enquiries with its colleagues in Egypt to confirm reports of British casualties.

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