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Egypt: Hot air balloon crash kills 18

A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 18 foreign tourists, a security official said.

It was one of the worst accidents involving tourists in Egypt and likely to push the key tourism industry deeper into recession.

The casualties included French, British, Belgian, Hungarian, Japanese nationals and nine tourists from Hong Kong, Luxor Governor Ezzat Saad told reporters.

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa says the Canadian Embassy in Cairo has confirmed with local authorities that no Canadians have been affected by this accident.

Three survivors of the crash, two British tourists and one Egyptian, were taken to a local hospital. Egypt's civil aviation minister, Wael el-Maadawi, suspended hot air balloon flights and flew to Luxor to lead the investigation into the crash.

According to the Egyptian security official, the balloon carrying at least 20 tourists was flying over Luxor early Tuesday when it caught fire, which triggered an explosion in its gas canister, then plunged at least 300 metres (1,000 feet) from the sky.

The balloon crashed into a sugar cane field outside al-Dhabaa village just west of Luxor, 510 kilometres (320 miles) south of Cairo.

The Canadian Press


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