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S. African Tourist Killed in Egypt Balloon Crash, 12 Injured

S. African Tourist Killed in Egypt Balloon Crash, 12 Injured

Friday, 5 January, 2018 - 11:00
Hot air balloons over Luxor, Egypt. Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

A South African tourist was killed and 12 other people were injured when a hot air balloon crashed near Egypt's ancient city of Luxor on Friday, a health ministry official said.

Sharif Wadie, the assistant health minister in charge of emergency services, told AFP there were no other casualties but did not elaborate on the extent of the passengers' injuries.

Their nationalities were not immediately clear.

The crash, to the west of Luxor, happened due to bad weather conditions, state-run news agency MENA reported.

Tourists often take early morning hot air balloon rides over the city and the ancient Egyptian temples and relics in neighboring areas.

The government had previously suspended the rides after two crashes in four years.

In 2009, 13 tourists were injured when their hot air balloon struck a communications mast in Luxor and crashed.

In 2013, a hot air balloon caught fire in mid-flight over Luxor, killing 19 tourists.

A fact-finding committee later found that the accident was probably caused by a gas leak near the burner, sparking a blaze that spread throughout the balloon.

Friday's accident comes as the government tries to woo back tourists following years of unrest that drove them away. 

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