|A balloon is seen in this file photo taken in Luxor, Egypt, Feb. 20, 2012. Nine tourists from China's Hongkong were killed in a balloon explosion Tuesday morning in Egypt's Luxor governorate, a local health official told Xinhua. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)
CAIRO, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- Nine tourists from China's Hong Kong were killed in a balloon crash Tuesday morning in Egypt's Luxor governorate, a local health official told Xinhua.
"Eighteen tourists, including nine from Hong Kong, four Japanese, two Britons, two Frenchmen and an Egyptian, have been killed in the accident," Abul Naga Abdel-Rady, head of Luxor's Ambulance Authority told Xinhua.
State-run MENA news agency reported earlier that the killed came from China's Hong Kong, Japan, Britain and France, without mentioning their number.
"The explosion happened in the early morning. The pressure was too high in the balloon and then fire of the engine touched the balloon and suddenly the balloon was on fire," a local tourist guide named Mohamed told Xinhua.
"The balloon belongs to the Sky Cruise Company. The dead and injured have been transferred to the Luxor International Hospital, " he added.
Luxor governor Ezzat Saad decided to suspend the business of balloons companies and ordered the companies to cancel all the arranged balloon trips. Prosecution in the governorate started investigations into the accident.
The official al-Ahram online quoted a source in the Sky Cruise company as saying the hose attached to the gas tanks was cut while some workers were trying to tug the rope of the balloon during landing, which led to the explosion.
"After the hose had been cut, the tanks exploded, and the balloon rose up in the air for 400 meters and got ablaze with 19 tourists inside," the source added.
In 2009, a balloon impinged with a tower of mobile phone network on a building roof and fell down in the west bank of Nile River in Luxor, leaving 19 people injured.